For what is at least the eleventh year in a row, Sandhill Cranes have returned to Somerset County. Terry Carruthers saw between 8 and 10 cranes on November 9 while traveling on I-287. The cranes were in a Superfund site they apparently have a fondness for as they spent time there in previous years as well.
The cranes were seen Saturday at the same Superfund site by Jeff Ellerbusch while he was traveling on I-287. Barbara McKee saw from 8-10 cranes as well as a smaller group flying overhead while bike riding on the Delaware and Raritan Canal towpath later that day. The cranes were seen in flight today in Bridgewater in the general location of the Superfund site.
Randolph Road, Franklin Township is where most people see the Sandhill Cranes. However, soybeans were planted there this year, not the corn the cranes prefer. This was also the scenario two years ago making the cranes more challenging to find.
The Mettlers/Weston Rd. area north of Colonial Park is a favored spot but it is not known what was planted there this year. Also, check the cornfields behind the college at Zarephath.
Note: it is not advisable to enter the Superfund site mentioned earlier for (hopefully) obvious reasons.
Waterfowl and other birds
Three Bonaparte’s Gulls were at Lake Musconetcong today. Up to six were seen here Oct. 31-Nov. 2.
Waterfowl and gulls are gradually moving into the Morris and Somerset areas for the winter, possibly propelled by the previous days’ frigid weather.
4 Redheads were seen at Lake Parsippany, Nov. 11 but not today.
3 Long-tailed Ducks were at Boonton Reservoir, Nov. 11.
Hooded Merganser numbers are growing at Lake Musconetcong with 70+ seen today.
Over 70 Buffleheads were at Lake Hopatcong this morning. One can easily see 100+ later in the season. 132 Mute Swans were tallied this morning but the annual wintering Tundra Swans have yet to appear at the lake.
Bald Eagles are getting ready for next year’s brood. The Mt. Hope eagles were observed copulating on the nest this morning. The Lake Hopatcong pair was evident near the nest today.
A very late “Brewster’s” Warbler (Blue-winged x Golden-winged Warbler hybrid) was found along Troy Meadows Rd. on a frigid Nov. 10 morning by Rob Fanning.
The Eurasian Wigeon of Mt. Olive Twp and Lake Musconetcong was last seen on Nov. 6.
The Great Swamp NWR was closed for hunting the previous four days. There is no update on the Northern Shrike which was last reported on Nov. 6.
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