Prothonotary Warbler at Lord Stirling Park
(Click on the photo for a larger image.)
The Lesser Nighthawk of Lord Stirling Park is the object of attention in the area since May 26. However, it is not the only avian attraction at Somerset County’s Environmental Education Center. A Prothonotary Warbler on the west side of Branta Pond is also giving excellent photo opportunities for its admirers.
The Prothonotary Warbler (PROW) was found on May 26 by Kirsten Abildskov and Piper Weldy. It is viewed from the enclosed blind on the west side of Branta Pond next to Bullfrog Pond where Yellow-breasted Chats have been observed in recent years (but not this year).
Four bluebird boxes are viewable from the blind. Three are inhabited by noisy House Wrens. The fourth, the farthest on the right when viewed from the blind, is being used by the PROW as it is seen carrying nesting material throughout the day. It will disappear from view for extended periods, 15-20 minutes or so, before returning with more nesting material.
Does the PROW have a mate? None have been observed yet. Prothonotary Warblers have frequently nested in recent years along the Passaic River separating Lord Stirling Park from the Great Swamp NWR. In most years, this is as far north as Prothonotary Warblers nest in New Jersey.
The Lesser Nighthawk Continues
People continue to visit Lord Stirling Park to view the remarkably cooperative Lesser Nighthawk (LENI). Every day, the LENI roosts in the same spot at the edge of the main path near the kiosk. Cones are set up to alert walkers to avoid that area. What is this LENI’s story and how long will it continue its routine at Lord Stirling Park?
Here is the history of this bird as far as we know as compiled by Jeff Ellerbusch and edited by mocosocoBirds:
The Lesser Nighthawk was originally found and photographed the morning of May 26 by Ben Barkley along the entrance trail near the kiosk. Seen only on the ground; short primary projection, with p10 obviously shorter than p9 which was easily visible when viewing the inside of left wing; significant buff spotting on primaries; outer end of what was visible of the white-ish/buffy wing bar appeared to be just short of, or about level with, the end of tertials; overall a buffy, stocky looking Nighthawk. Aside from a few minor adjustments it only moved when a chipmunk nearly ran into it, which happened 3 times, and when it defecated, at which point it slowly shuffled in a nearly perfect 90-degree turn, took care of business, then slowly shuffled back to its original position.
Update 5/27/17: Jeff received word early on the morning of May 27 from Robert Blair of The Raptor Trust that a Lesser Nighthawk was released at the Raptor Trust this past Sunday, May 21. It was originally found in Hillsborough Twp. (Somerset County) on May 14. There were no apparent injuries; It was thin but not emaciated; it was tube fed, given insects, and was test flown and deemed ready for release after a week. Pictures taken by The Raptor Trust leave no doubt to the ID of this bird. The Raptor Trust is roughly one mile from Lord Stirling Park.
Update 5/27/17: The Lesser Nighthawk was actually found on Thursday, May 11, in a front yard on Steele Place in Hillsborough Twp. where it was picked up by St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center (Madison, NJ) and brought to The Raptor Trust. Thanks again to Robert Blair for the original info from early this morning regarding this bird and this new info with a corrected date and more precise original location.
Large groups of Cedar Waxwings have invaded northern New Jersey, usually a good indication that the bulk of spring migration is nearly finished, but migrants can still be found.
A Gray-cheeked Thrush was seen May 26 at the Great Swamp NWR.
Birdcast’s Midwest and Northeast forecast for the rest of this week is here.
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