Northern Rough-winged Swallow in Great Swamp NWR
(Click on the photo for a larger image.)
In 2016, Tree Swallows first appeared in both Morris and Somerset Counties on March 9. Today, March 20, Jim Mulvey found the first Northern Rough-winged Swallow of the mocosocoBirds region for 2016 at the Great Swamp NWR at the pond near the North Gate.
Interestingly, this is only the second record of this species in New Jersey for 2016 according to the eBird database. The first was found yesterday, March 19, in Monmouth County (the other moco) by the dynamic duo of Scott Barnes and Linda Mack.
Morris County has a number of flourishing heronries. The herony at Boonton Reservoir is unique in that the Great Blue Herons share the island with an impressive, if not overwhelming, number of Double-crested Cormorants (the north side of the island is pictured in the above photo) .
The Double-crested Cormorants (DCCO) returned to the reservoir during the past week. 30+ were counted this morning. Many more are on their way in the next few weeks. As an indicator of how many DCCOs utilize this body of water, 435 DCCOs were counted at the reservoir in July of 2013. The Great Blue Heron count was a modest 16 this morning.
Adult Bald Eagles commuting from the Troy Meadows nesting site are occasionally seen roosting in the trees of the island. Great Egrets and an occasional Black-crowned Night Heron are visitors to the island. A different visitor paid this observer a surprise encounter this morning in the northwest section of the reservoir as seen in the photo below.
The paltry waterfowl season of 2016 continues. The most interesting sighting at Lake Hopatcong on Saturday, Mar. 19 was a boat towing a water skier in 32 F degree weather at 7:10 AM. The lake was barren of water birds other than a pair of American Coot, a few Buffleheads, Pied-billed Grebes and a handful of gulls.
Lake Musconetcong did not fare better. Double-crested Cormorants returned this week as they are on every major body of water in the county now.
Mt. Hope Lake tallied 115 Ruddy Ducks, 25 Buffleheads, 4 Hooded Mergansers and a Pied-billed Grebe.
This morning, Lake Parsippany hosted only the second record of Red-breasted Merganser for 2016 in Morris County. 4 of the continuing Redheads remain. 100+ Ruddy Ducks are scattered across the lake.
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