Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Orange-crowned Warbler, Snow Bunting
at Tilcon Lake
(Click on the photo for a larger image.)
Tilcon Lake, Mt. Olive Twp. was formerly the site of a sand and gravel quarry, hence the corporate name. Flooding of the nearby Musconetcong River in the early 2000’s formed the lake as it is known today. The lake and surrounding area is now part of Allamuchy Mountain State Park and is a neighbor to Stephens State Park.
Tilcon Lake is a popular fishing spot. Also, it is best to get there in the morning on the weekends as it does attract noisy humans.
The lake and surrounding area is gaining increasing attention from birders especially when combining it with a ride along Waterloo Valley Road. The east side of the lake has a small colony of nesting Bank Swallows as well as Northern Rough-winged Swallows. The first White-rumped Sandpiper recorded in decades in Morris County was here Nov. 15, 2014. Yellow-breasted Chat, Common Loon, Alder Flycatcher, White-crowned Sparrow are just a small sampling of the species found here in the recent past. Across Kinney Road is a model airplane field where American Pipits and Horned Larks have been seen.
Yesterday Nov. 5, an Orange-crowned Warbler made a brief appearance in the trees and shrubs along the main path from the gate to the lake. At least 5 Fox Sparrows were also in the area as well as Palm and Yellow-rumped Warblers. Later that day, Mike Ostrow found a Snow Bunting near the same area where the White-rumped Sandpiper was found last year. A Greater Yellowlegs has been present this week.
Today, a remarkable Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (see the photo above) as well as a Blue-headed Vireo were found at the lake (Chris Thomas). The temperature has reached the low 70 Fahrenheit degrees the past few days but a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher on November 6 is a surprise, nonetheless.
Below is a screenshot of eBird sightings of Blue-gray Gnatcatcher in the northeast so far in Nov. 2015. As you will see, there aren’t many (click on the image for a larger view).
Note to eBirders: Tilcon Lake is now an eBird hotspot. The link is here. So that we can amalgamate the totals from this location, please merge your personal locations for Tilcon Lake to the hotspot for Tilcon Lake. A link is supplied at the end of this post if you are not sure how to do this. Thank you – from the Morris eBird reviewer.
Waterfowl in Morris County
Waterfowl are scarce in most of the large bodies of water in Morris. A few Buffleheads and 2 Common Loons were at Lake Hopatcong, Nov.5.
Boonton Reservoir had 2 Horned Grebes and 2 Common Loons on Nov. 4.
Split Rock Reservoir had 24 Ruddy Ducks today. That is all.
Numbers have surprisingly decreased at Mt. Hope Lake with less than 400 Ruddy Ducks and a handful of Ring-necked Ducks today.
Pied-billed Grebes are at many locations in numbers ranging from 1 to 5. Gadwalls are easy to find.
Other Field Notes
The Great Cormorant continues at Lake Parsippany. It has been there since October 3.
From Ivan Kossak, Lincoln Park, Nov. 4:
This morning I found a Merlin at the town swimming lake and a flock of 20+ American Pipits at Borinski’s Farm (Rt. 202). Also a pair of Common Raven along the Pompton River at Two Bridges. This is less than 1 mile from where I saw the pair on Monday so I suspect they are the same birds.
Butterflies are still to be seen. The following Monarch was lazing in the grass this morning at Frelinghuysen Fields in Harding Twp. A Compton Tortoiseshell was found in Sussex County yesterday.
The Bucks Stop Here
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