It seems like ages ago that a Pink-footed Goose, a Rock Wren and a Mew Gull were dominating the local birding news. By February, the focus has turned to more typical winter birds.
(Click on the photo for a larger image.)
At this time, Gull Central in Morris County is pinpointed on Lake Hopatcong. The north end of the lake has played host to well over 1,000 gulls including Herring (dominant), Ring-billed (overwhelmed by Herring Gulls at the north end; scattered throughout the lake, otherwise), an unusually large number of Great Black-backed Gulls for the county (56 tallied in one scan Sunday, Jan. 30 at Lake Forest), 3 different Iceland Gulls seen in the past two weeks and a Lesser Black-backed Gull (Jeff Ellerbusch).
The gulls, 225 Common Mergansers, the continuing 4 adult Tundra Swans and the usual 116 or so Mute Swans are at the north end. Common Goldeneye and Gadwall were spotted last week by Jeff Ellerbusch.
The entire concentration of birds is from Lake Forest north to the Prospect Point boatyard. Just as remarkable, the rest of the lake is almost barren of birds. The lake is thawed, an unusual occurrence in early February. In most recent years, finding approximately 100 Buffleheads throughout the lake was fairly common when icy conditions existed. On Jan. 29, 1 lone Bufflehead was spotted.
Today, February 2, Rob Fanning found a Eurasian Wigeon drake in the Lake Forest area of Lake Hopatcong. This could be the same duck found on Jan. 15 at a private pond in Roxbury Twp.
Two Canvasbacks were at a private pond in Roxbury Twp., Sunday, Jan.29.
A Rough-legged Hawk was at Duke Farms on Jan. 31 (Jeff Ellerbusch).
Sandhill Cranes continue in the Randolph Road area of Franklin Township.
2 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls were floating on Budd Lake, Jan. 29 (Alan Boyd).
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