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Mid-July is a mix of summer breeding and migratory anticipation in the Morris Highlands and elsewhere. Greeting this observer at Lake Denmark early yesterday morning were 400 Common Grackles in one large, loose group. Most were in the woods along the edge of the marsh, exiting that location in groups of 10, 20, 30. All 400 eventually scattered, roosting in the nearby snags and trees. This was a transitory gathering. If someone came to the same place an hour later, none would be seen.
A Louisiana Waterthrush was singing and seen along the old mining railroad trail. Young birds are everywhere. Juvenile Eastern Bluebirds can be found in the trees. Green Heron numbers are growing. Tufted Titmice of different ages are scurrying about. There are many unrecognizable bird sounds this time of year.
On July 11, Boonton Reservoir had at least 225 Double-crested Cormorants near the island. 26 Great Blue Herons, 1 Great Egret and 30 Ring-billed Gulls are also at the reservoir. Nesting Cliff Swallows are busy at the Rt. 202 bridge.
Mt. Hope Lake has 90 Mute Swans which does not come close to the 185 tallied in 2013. The alleged Bernardsville-captive-origin Trumpeter Swan has not been reported in 2015. One spent the previous two summers at Mt. Hope Lake. An adult Bald Eagle was near the nest. Two eaglets were reared this year at last report.
Three banded American Kestrels are currently in the Great Swamp along Pleasant Plains Road where there were none recently (Chuck Hantis). Are these Raptor Trust releases?
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