Trumpeter Swan at Lake Parsippany
Morris County’s first accepted record for Trumpeter Swan was in June of 2016 (i.e. considered to be of genuine wild origin). See the link here.
On Sunday, April 9, Californian Ben Newhouse photographed a dark-billed swan at Lake Parsippany. After viewing the photograph, it was determined to be a probable Trumpeter Swan. The swan was not present at Lake Parsippany either Monday or Tuesday, April 10 and 11.
Rob Fanning relocated the swan this morning, April 12. The swan was present throughout the morning which is when the following photos were taken.
The swan shows the features of a Trumpeter Swan: a long straight bill unlike the shorter slightly curved bill of a Tundra Swan
(Click on the photo for larger image.)
The head comes to an edge, or point, towards the back of the head unlike Tundra Swan’s rounded head.
A ‘V’, or point, is formed where the upper mandible meets the forehead, unlike the Tundra Swan’s rounded border. This is a key difference. The eyes merge with the black of the bill, whereas Tundra Swan’s eyes seem almost, but not quite, separate from the bill.
The Lake Parsippany Trumpeter Swan shares a feature with the 2016 Trumpeter Swan in that they are both slightly smaller than the neighboring Mute Swans. Is this the same swan as last years? Probably not. The grayish plumage on the neck marks this as an immature Trumpeter Swan as was the 2016 swan.
To this observer’s thinking, this completely rules out the Bernardsville Trumpeter Swans as well. They have never been known to breed. It is thought the parents of the Bernardsville progeny were destroyed.
An excellent document for distinguishing Trumpeter from Tundra Swans is at David Sibley’s website, here.
Please note: Trumpeter Swan is a review species for the state of New Jersey. The NJ Bird Record Committee will review this record at a later date. Please send reports to the committee. Forms for reporting can be found on this page.
eBird users: if you visit Lake Parsippany and list this swan, please give detailed descriptions in the comment section mentioning all of the pertinent features. Photos are preferred. Simply saying “continuing” will cause an immediate invalidation of the record.
For now, on eBird, the Trumpeter Swan will be validated, or confirmed as end-users know it, as long as there is a detailed description (see the above paragraph). This is so it appears on the species map lists and any other reports that people use to find species of interest. If at a later date the NJ Bird Record Committee rejects the record due to unknown provenance or any other reason, all eBird records of this sighting will be invalidated.
Rails and Bitterns
Rails and bitterns are moving into appropriate habitats in the Morris and Somerset region.
American Bitterns were heard over Lord Stirling Park early on April 10. A Virginia Rail called near the overlook on Pleasant Plains Rd., Great Swamp NWR on the evening of Apr. 11 (Jeff Ellerbusch, et al).
This morning at Frelinghuysen Fields and Marsh in Harding Township, a visually reclusive Eastern Meadowlark sang often in the west field near the pasture. After flushing several Wilson’s Snipe near the small marsh in the west field, this observer was startled when an American Bittern rose up from vegetation near the edge of the marsh and flew westward out of sight towards property run by the Great Swamp Watershed Association. Not knowing if the camera was turned on or what settings were current, the photographer quickly fired off some blurry fly-away photos of which the following is the most usable, barely.
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