The summer tease of the previous two days left in a hurry Sunday morning, April 15. The temperature was 40 F degrees, nearly 40 degrees less than the previous afternoon. Considering the species of birds seen this day, we need more of these drastic weather changes.
(Click on the photo for a larger image.)
Somerset County’s first record Little Gull was found shortly after noon by Jeff Ellerbusch at Studdiford Drive in Branchburg Twp. Studdiford Drive is the bridge spanning the South Branch of the Raritan River and the short road that connects River Road in Hillsborough Twp. with South Branch Road in Branchburg Twp.
The Little Gull accompanied 63 Bonaparte’s Gulls. It was viewed, photographed and not seen again, although some of the Bonaparte’s Gulls returned to the Opie and River Road areas of Hillsborough Twp.
The usual 140+- Ring-billed Gulls and 10-15 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were also in the area.
The number of gull species seen in this area is remarkable. This is agricultural land with a river running through it. The nearest large bodies of water are the Hunterdon County reservoirs eight to fifteen miles to the west and Raritan Bay, twenty-five miles to the east.
Here is the cumulative gull list from Opie Road, River Road, and Studdiford Drive. All of these records are from recent years.
- Little Gull
- Bonaparte’s Gull
- Laughing Gull – 2014, 2017
- Mew Gull – Opie Rd., 2nd NJ state record. Jan. 3, 2017.
- Ring-billed Gull
- Herring Gull
- Iceland Gull
- Lesser Black-backed Gull – Somerset County high total of 216 at Norz Farm Fields, River Road, March 2, 2018.
- Great Black-backed Gull
Glaucous Gull hasn’t made it to this side of town yet. It is only reported from the other side of Hillsborough Twp.
Bonaparte’s Gulls in Morris County
It was a day for Bonaparte’s Gulls in the mocosocoBirds area. 150 Bonaparte’s Gulls were at Lake Hopatcong late in the morning between Nolan’s Point and Bertrand Island. A scope was mandatory for viewing as gulls in this area are distant, to say the least. This is the highest known count for Morris County. The previous high was 52 on April 13, 2017, at the same location.
A modest two Bonaparte’s Gulls were at Boonton Reservoir today.
3 Caspian Terns were viewed at Colonial Park by Robert Blair at 1 PM. The terns were seen diving in the pond across from the tennis courts. This is an outstanding record for Somerset County.
There were several reports of single Sandhill Cranes, Saturday, April 14 at Lord Stirling Park, Margetts Field in Harding Township, and the Great Swamp NWR.
View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:
The mocosocoBirds Facebook page is located here and also posts timely information not found on the mocosocoBirds web site.
@mocosocoBirds at Twitter is another communications stream. Instant field reports and links of interest are tweeted throughout the day. The latest tweets appear on the sidebar of this page. One can follow mocosocoBirds at Twitter or link to @mocosocoBirds.