May Birds at Troy Meadows
(Click on the photo for a larger image)
It is an absolute pleasure to witness the continued, growing interest in the bird life of Troy Meadows in Morris County. Neglected for years except for devoted locals, word of mouth and especially contemporary communications i.e., the Internet, have helped put Troy Meadows on the birding map once again. This is good news because Troy Meadows is always under development pressure from the surrounding area. The more publicity Troy Meadows gets as a valuable resource for natural study, the better.
The past week has seen a parade of migrants passing through on Troy Meadows Road. Tennessee Warblers are a highlight. This species is reported five consecutive days since Rob Fanning found one on May 9. Since then, 4 individuals at one time and multiples on most days are recorded.
Conditions during this period have not been ideal for migration which makes this observer surmise that the same Tennessee Warblers have stayed at this location. This species is an annual but not a common spring migrant through this area by any means. It is safe to say that in the current era most observers have few encounters with Tennessee Warblers during May making this a noteworthy week at Troy Meadows.
Other species during the week at Troy Meadows are 20 species of warblers including Wilson’s, Tennessee, Canada, Blackpoll, Bay-breasted, Black-throated Blue, and Magnolia Warblers. Also present were Least Flycatcher, Blue-headed Vireo, and Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoos. Shorebird diversity has slowed down at Troy Brook but Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper and double-digit Solitary Sandpipers continue.
Easily, the most remarkable Morris County bird this past week is a Sandhill Crane observed by Roger Johnson as it flew over Troy Meadows on May 11. This is the third known record for Sandhill Crane at Troy Meadows. The first was a bird present from April 13 to May 1, 1969, and the most recent record is from August 21, 1972, almost 45 years ago.
Gulls in Somerset County
The unprecedented May 2017 invasion of gulls in Somerset County continues. 136 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 5 Herring Gulls, 400 Ring-billed Gulls and the Iceland Gull in the above photo were seen on May 10 by Jeff Ellerbusch at the Norz Farm Fields on River Road, Hillsborough Twp. As of yesterday morning, May 12, many of the Lesser Black-backed Gulls were still present eventually meandering towards the South Branch of the Raritan River.
Just as this post is to be published, Jeff Ellerbusch reports the following today, rainy May 13:
At Norz Farm:
300 Ring-billed Gulls
2 Herring Gulls
89 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
At nearby Opie Road:
1 1st cycle Bonaparte’s Gull
125 Ring-billed Gulls
3 Herring Gulls
28 Lesser Black-backed Gulls
All of these are new Somerset County records for late dates.
The extraordinary Black-bellied Whistling-Duck from the Great Swamp on May 5 (see the post here) was never relocated in the immediate area. However, two Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks were seen by many observers on May 7 at Cape May, the day following the World Series of Birding.
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