Pine Siskin and Red-breasted Nuthatches – June 30, 2016

Pine Siskin at Troy Meadows

Pine Siskin, Troy Meadows, NJ, June 30, 2016 (photo by George Valladares)

Pine Siskin, Troy Meadows, NJ, June 30, 2016 (photo by George Valladares)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

The subject of this post is appropriate for January 30 – but June 30? Six months later?

Dave Hall led a New Jersey Audubon field trip today at Troy Meadows. An unexpected Pine Siskin was observed and photographed near the small parking area and the gas pipeline on Troy Meadows Road. Many thanks to George Valladares for sharing his photos. There are only a few records in the eBird database for Pine Siskins in this time period in New Jersey .

Pine Siskin, Troy Meadows, NJ, June 30, 2016 (photo by George Valladares)

Pine Siskin, Troy Meadows, NJ, June 30, 2016 (photo by George Valladares)


Red-breasted Nuthatches

Adding to the unusual bird calendar are recent Red-breasted Nuthatch reports from several locations in the Somerset area and elsewhere in New Jersey. Lord Stirling Park (Ben Barkley), Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve (Jeff Ellerbusch) and Ann Van Middlesworth Park, Hillsborough Twp. (Vicki Scwartz) in Hillsborough all have observations of this species in recent weeks.

Historically, Red-breasted Nuthatches appear periodically in the summer months in New Jersey and can be local breeders. However, they are virtually absent from the Morris and Somerset County region for the past few years.


Other Bird Notes

The Yellow-throated Warbler at Colonial Park is not reported since June 26, more than likely due to the absence of anyone looking for it.

The Trumpeter Swan has vacated Lake Musconetcong, where it was last reported on June 19. This is believed to be the same individual who has spent much of 2016 in Sussex County (Montague and Hyper Humus) and could show up anywhere.


Butterflies

Monarch, Lord Stirling Park, NJ, June 30, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Monarch, Lord Stirling Park, NJ, June 30, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

It is 4th of July Butterfly Count season. Just as birders partake in Christmas Bird Counts, butterfliers census the local butterflies in July. A schedule of counts can be found at the following page of the North Jersey Butterfly Club of the North American Butterfly Association (NABA). Scroll down the page to view the list:

NABA Butterfly Counts in New Jersey.


View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:

The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the mocosocoBirds.com website.


@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.

The mocosocoBirds Facebook page is located here and also posts timely information not found on the mocosocoBirds web site.


Finis


Posted in Butterfly Links, Morris County, Somerset County | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Yellow-throated Warbler, other bird notes – June 22, 2016

Yellow-throated Warbler, Colonial Park, Franklin Twp., NJ, June 21, 2016 (photo by Ken Eberts)

Yellow-throated Warbler, Colonial Park, Franklin Twp., NJ, June 21, 2016 (photo by Ken Eberts)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

In 2014, a Yellow-throated Warbler spent much of the spring in the mature White Pines and oaks, north of the parking lot at the van der Goot Rose Garden section of Colonial Park in Franklin Twp. Dozens of people were able to observe the warbler during its stay. The species was missed in the park during 2015 despite extensive searching.

Yellow-throated Warbler is not an expected species in Somerset County or anywhere else in much of the interior of New Jersey. The main breeding populations are centered around Cape May County and at scattered locations along the Delaware River with an ongoing population at Bull’s Island in Hunterdon County. It is not often encountered during migration.

Yesterday, June 21, Ben Barkley located a singing Yellow-throated Warbler in the same location at Colonial Park as that in 2014. Other birders were able to observe it throughout the day. Many thanks to Ken Eberts for sharing his photos with mocosocoBirds.

The Yellow-throated Warbler continues at Colonial Park today. It sang incessantly between 6:00-6:30 this morning. An iPhone 6 Plus recording of its song is here. Please note that the Rose Garden is west of Mettlers Road which is the opposite side of the road as the main section of the park.

Yellow-throated Warbler, Colonial Park, Franklin Twp., NJ, June 21, 2016 (photo by Ken Eberts)

Yellow-throated Warbler, Colonial Park, Franklin Twp., NJ, June 21, 2016 (photo by Ken Eberts)

It will be left for others to debate whether this individual is the nominate Setophaga dominca dominica, the “coastal” Yellow-throated Warbler, or if this is the midwestern sometimes white-lored S. d. albilora, or “Sycamore Warbler”


Other Bird Notes

Grasshopper Sparrows and at least one male Blue Grosbeak continue at Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve.

A Trumpeter Swan continues to hang out with the Mute Swans at Lake Musconetcong.

Sandhill Crane fans can be happy come November. Corn is planted on Randolph Road, Franklin Township this year instead of soy beans. This has been a popular drive-up-and-see-the-cranes spot for years, but only when corn is planted.


View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:

The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the mocosocoBirds.com website.


@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.

The mocosocoBirds Facebook page is located here and also posts timely information not found on the mocosocoBirds web site.


Finis


Posted in Morris County, Somerset County | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sunday Bird Notes and a Geography Lesson – June 12, 2016

Beaver Brook Trail – South

Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia), Rockaway R. WMA, NJ, June 11, 2016 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia), Rockaway R. WMA, NJ, June 11, 2016 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Yesterday, June 11, Tim Vogel and this writer hiked the southern half of the Beaver Brook Trail in the Rockaway River WMA. This is arguably one of the most grueling trails in Morris County. Starting at the parking lot at Taylor and Berkshire Valley Roads in Jefferson Twp., the hike followed the white-blazed trail along the ridge, all the way to the PSE&G Susquehanna-Roseland Project powerline – a rugged round trip of over four miles.

Worm-eating Warblers are numerous along the trail. Nine evenly spaced singers were tallied. Other warblers encountered were Louisiana Waterthrush, Hooded, Chestnut-sided, Black-and-white and Yellow Warblers, American Redstarts, Common Yellowthroats and abundant Ovenbirds. The ridge was alive with singing Wood Thrushes, Red-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireos, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Eastern Wood-Pewees, etc.

A highlight of the walk was Mountain Laurel which was in peak bloom, especially along the southern portion of the ridge.

The following photo shows an abandoned nest in a rock formation suitable for a Black Bear dwelling. It seemed like the eggs in the nest, if that’s what they are, were rotted. In any case, it is an impressive structure. Please comment to this post if anyone has an idea to what species built it.

Bird Nest, Rockaway R. WMA, NJ, June 11, 2016 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Kizas)

Bird Nest, Rockaway R. WMA, NJ, June 11, 2016 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)


Geography Lesson No. 1

People may not be cognizant of the borders that Morris shares with its neighboring counties. Keep in mind that Morris County, located in the north central section of New Jersey, shares more county borders, seven, than any other county in New Jersey. The bordering counties are Sussex, Passaic, Essex, Union, Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren.

This situation is exacerbated by eBird hotspots which can generalize locations. For example, two eBird hotspots exist for Lake Musconetcong: Lake Musconetcong – Morris and Lake Musconetcong (Sussex).

For those visiting the Trumpeter Swan at Lake Musconetcong, please know where you are. The Musconetcong River is the Morris-Sussex border in this area. Lake Musconetcong is a dammed portion of the river meaning that the shorelines are either in Morris or Sussex depending on where you are situated. If you are in Stanhope or anywhere on the northern shore of the lake, you are in Sussex. Koclas Drive in Netcong, the location where most observers are viewing the Trumpeter Swan, is firmly in Morris, as is the entire south shore of the lake.

Look at the map here: the Musconetcong River feeds the lake from the east (the river’s source is Lake Hopatcong) and exits by the bridge at the west end of the lake on Ledgewood Ave. North of the river is Sussex; south of the river is Morris. Yes, this means that you can have a bi-county experience twitching the Trumpeter, as many birders already have.


Other Notes

Green Heron, Lake Denmark, NJ, June 12, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Green Heron, Lake Denmark, NJ, June 12, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Here is a good example as to why scientific binomial nomenclature is preferred in identifying nature’s biota. The following familiar aquatic plant, labeled as Sweet-scented Water Lily in Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, may be known elsewhere as American White Water-lily, Fragrant White Water-lily, Fragrant Water-lily, White Water-lily, Sweet-scented White Water-lily and Beaver-root. Those labels may seem poetic but create a variety of unnecessary confusion when Nymphaea odorata says it all.

Sweet-scented Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata), Lake Denmark, NJ, June 12, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Sweet-scented Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata), Lake Denmark, NJ, June 12, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)



View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:

The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the mocosocoBirds.com website.


@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.

The mocosocoBirds Facebook page is located here and also posts timely information not found on the mocosocoBirds web site.


Finis


Posted in Morris County, Somerset County | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Trumpeter Swan at Lake Musconetcong – June 11, 2016

Trumpeter Swan, Lake Musconetcong, NJ, June 11, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Trumpeter Swan, Lake Musconetcong, NJ, June 11, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image)

A Trumpeter Swan was found and photographed by Alan Boyd yesterday, June 10, at Lake Musconetcong. Viewing is from Koclas Drive. Please respect the property owners if you go. This means, stay on the road and do not go on the grass edge of the lake which is private property.

The waters of central to southern Morris and northern Somerset Counties were tainted a few years ago with a brood of captive origin Trumpeter Swans that circulated the area. Some of the mocosocoBirds posts regarding these swans are in the following list:

During the period from December 2013-April 2014, a trio of Trumpeter Swans visited Assunpink WMA in Monmouth County. These swans were determined to be legitimately wild and became the first accepted records of the species in New Jersey (see the NJBRC 2015 report here).

Trumpeter and Mute Swans, Lake Musconetcong, NJ, June 11, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Trumpeter and Mute Swans, Lake Musconetcong, NJ, June 11, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

As far as is known, the Bernardsville “pets” have not been seen in the wild, i.e. roaming around the lakes and ponds of Morris and Somerset Counties, since the end of 2014. Building the case for the current Trumpeter Swan as a bird of wild origin is the possibility that it is the same individual viewed at Montague in Sussex County this past winter. General appearance and size are the factors leading to that conclusion, along with the observation that the swan has not been seen in Montague since May.

Trumpeter Swan, Lake Musconetcong, NJ, June 11, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Trumpeter Swan, Lake Musconetcong, NJ, June 11, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The 1st and third photos in this post are heavy crops meant to display significant features of the Trumpeter Swan. The top picture shows the diagnostic V-shaped forehead and bill. The third photo shows the steep slope of the head and bill and, if one looks closely enough, the joining of the eyes with the black of the bill (Click on the photo for a larger image).

The middle photo attempts to show the relative size of this particular Trumpeter Swan with the approximately 96 Mute Swans at the lake. The Trumpeter is slightly smaller than the Mutes. Even though Trumpeter Swans are generally the same size as Mute Swans, it will be accepted that this Trumpeter is within the size range for the species, albeit on the runt side of the size scale.

See David Sibley’s web page, here, on separating Trumpeter from Tundra Swans. The article also includes other links for more information.

  • See Glenn Mahler’s photos of the Trumpeter Swan from today, June 11, on his eBird checklist here.
  • Alan Boyd’s photos from June 10 can be seen here.

If this sighting is accepted by the New Jersey Bird Records Committee as a bird of wild origin, it will represent the first legitimate record of Trumpeter Swan in Morris County.


View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:

The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the mocosocoBirds.com website.


@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.

The mocosocoBirds Facebook page is located here and also posts timely information not found on the mocosocoBirds web site.


Finis


Posted in Morris County | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bird Notes – June 5, 2016

Bobolinks of Harding Township

Bobolink, Frelinghuysen Fields, Harding Twp., NJ, June 5, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Bobolink, Frelinghuysen Fields, Harding Twp., NJ, June 5, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

Bobolinks are in the fields on both sides of James Street at Frelinghuysen Fields in Harding Township. If you go, stay on the mowed bridle paths – unless you enjoy walking through neck-high grasses and thick cow vetch. Park only on the east side of James Street by the Frelinghuysen Fields plaque near the chain link gate.  Do not travel on Wexford Lane which is a private road. Do not park by the little red house on the west side of James Street.

A Grasshopper Sparrow has been reported from here recently but not detected by this observer. Red-winged Blackbirds are abundant. Five Bobolinks, mostly males, were seen concurrently in the east field and likewise in the west field. This means there are probably more Bobolinks in the fields.

The Frelinghuysen family (Rodney Frelinghuysen is the congressman from the 11th district, encompassing most of Morris County including the highlands) and the Harding Land Trust are to be applauded for keeping these fields in their preserved state.

Margetts Field on Blue Mill Road has had nesting Bobolinks in the past but none are currently in residence.


The Black Vulture of Sayre’s Farm

Black Vulture, Sayre's Farm, Morris Twp., NJ, May 27, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Black Vulture, Sayre’s Farm, Morris Twp., NJ, May 27, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Sayre’s Farm will not be found labeled on a Google map. It is a name created by this author to label a property formerly owned by Theodore Sayre in the the 19th century. According to county park maps, it is part of Lewis Morris County Park. Unfortunately, the old gravel driveway on Mendham Rd. is gated and locked, a recent development some 3-4 years ago. Prior to this, it was a local birding hotspot due to it’s variety of habitats in a small area.

Patriots Path courses through the back end of the property, so access is still available for those who enjoy a long walk. The Black Vulture in the above photo is alleged to be the same individual seen on the property’s barn for a few years now, and at all seasons.

He/she is usually solo. The barn has wide barn doors on one side (locked of course) with a 3-4 foot gap above the doors. The Black Vulture frequently roosts on the top of the doors. Rather than flying away as expected when a person approaches, the vulture flies into the barn, much to the observer’s surprise.


Lawrence’s Warbler in Lincoln Park

Lawrence's Warbler, Lincoln Park, NJ, May 28, 2016 (photo by Jill Homcy)

Lawrence’s Warbler, Lincoln Park, NJ, May 28, 2016 (photo by Jill Homcy)

On May 27th, Ivan Kossak found a Lawrence’s Warbler (Blue-winged Warbler x Golden-winged Warbler hybrid) behind the Sports Factory in Lincoln Park. It stayed long enough for Jill Homcy to get a photograph the next day. This is as close to a Golden-winged Warbler as has been found in Morris County this spring.

Incidentally, Ivan Kossak initiated a community project in 2016 to see how many species of birds can be found in his hometown of Lincoln Park: The Great Lincoln Park Bird Count. A Facebook community page is setup here, although a Facebook account is probably necessary to view it.


Other Bird Notes

Jim Macaluso found a Caspian Tern at Great Cove, Lake Hopatcong on June 1. Here is an edited excerpt of Jim’s account: “I was coming in from fishing at Hendricks Cove and was in front of The Jefferson House when I noticed a bird in front of me that wasn’t a gull…I had never seen a Caspian Tern at Lake Hopatcong before, despite fishing there for more than 40 years.”


A King Rail was discovered at Troy Meadows on May 27 by Mike Ostrow and was vocalizing through at least May 31 before falling silent. Apparently, the rail’s vocalizing decreased as the density and intensity of mosquitos at Troy Meadows increased. A recording of the King Rail clucking is here.


Blue Grosbeak, Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve, NJ, June 4, 3016 (photo by Chris Thomas)

Blue Grosbeak, Negri-Nepote Native Grasslands Preserve, NJ, June 4, 3016 (photo by Chris Thomas)

So far in June, Blue Grosbeaks are reported from Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve (many obs.) and Duke Farms (Jeff Ellerbusch). The only Morris County Blue Grosbeak report in 2016 is of a single individual at Bamboo Brook on May 11 (Bill Lynch).


And, in closing, a Brown Thrasher at the Moody Farm in Washington Valley, Morris Township.

Brown Thrasher, Moody Farm, Morris Twp., NJ, May 25, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Brown Thrasher, Moody Farm, Morris Twp., NJ, May 25, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:

The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the mocosocoBirds.com website.


@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.

The mocosocoBirds Facebook page is located here and also posts timely information not found on the mocosocoBirds web site.


Finis


Posted in Morris County, Somerset County | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Birds of Mahlon Dickerson Reservation – May 22, 2016

Scarlet Tanager, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Scarlet Tanager, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

The above photo is of one of the most confiding Scarlet Tanagers this observer can remember seeing. This male was asking to be photographed, oblivious to nine Homo sapiens nearby at the Saffin Rock-Rill section of Mahlon Dickerson Reservation.

A New Jersey Audubon All Things Birds field trip was led today by yours truly. Eight enthusiastic participants experienced the best of Mahlon Dickerson Reservation in Jefferson Township. Some of the participants continued with a side trip to Weldon Brook WMA in Sparta Township, Sussex County in the afternoon.

Pink Azalea (Rhododendron nudiflorum) is currently at its gorgeous peak, surrounding the ponds at Mahlon Dickerson Reservation.

Pink Azalea (Rhododendron nudiflorum), Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Pink Azalea (Rhododendron nudiflorum), Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Pink Lady’s Slipper was found on the forest floor in the “north woods”.

Pink Lady's Slipper, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Pink Lady’s Slipper, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (iPhone photo by Jonathan Klizas)

A Bullfrog seemed at ease on a comfortable mat of moss at the Saffin Rock-Rill section of the reservation.

Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana), Saffin Rock-Rill Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana), Saffin Rock-Rill Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The birds were the main attraction. All of the expected species are in their place, busy with the endeavor of reproducing. Thanks to Rob Gallucci for sharing the following photo he took this afternoon of the Cerulean Warbler on the path next to Saffin Pond. In the morning, the Cerulean played hard to get for awhile but finally gave the entire group great looks for an extended period of time.

Cerulean Warbler, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (photo by Rob Gallucci)

Cerulean Warbler, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (photo by Rob Gallucci)

Least Flycatchers finally returned to Mahlon this week. One was incessantly vocal in the usual place this species appears every year, along the yellow-blazed trail of the Saffin Rock-Rill pond. A very well-fed Black Bear across the pond created a brief distraction from the repetitive chebek-chebek-chebek song of the Least Flycatcher.

Lots of breeding activity was witnessed: courtship, nest building, copulation and nesting. A Wood Thrush nest was carefully and respectfully observed.

Wood Thrush Nest, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (photo By Jonathan Klizas)

Wood Thrush Nest, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, NJ, May 22, 2016 (photo By Jonathan Klizas)

The Pine Swamp trail has two Acadian Flycatchers. One was studied at length by all of the observers. A Northern Waterthrush was in its usual place but Canada Warblers were strangely silent. They are breeders here most years. Two Hooded Warblers were heard, with one seen very briefly by some.

Yellow-billed Cuckoos were noticeable, being seen and heard. Before the group of birders convened in the morning, a Black-billed Cuckoo was observed at Saffin Rock-Rill; at the same time, an Alder Flycatcher sang a definitive fee-BEE-o three times before vanishing.

A side trip to nearby Sussex County’s Weldon Brook WMA accessed via Pascoe Road produced the usual bounty of Prairie, Chestnut-sided and Blue-winged Warblers, Indigo Buntings, Eastern Towhees, etc. A warbler with a yellow cap, dark mask, gray back and sides and yellowish tinged wings flew into view raising everyone’s excitement – until it was determined to be a Brewster’s Warbler hybrid.

A Yellow-breasted Chat spent the spring and early summer here in 2015. This year, it looks as if an herbicide was applied to a large swatch of trees and vegetation under the power lines, destroying any chance of a return of the Chat to the same locale.


View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:

The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the mocosocoBirds.com website.


@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.

The mocosocoBirds Facebook page is located here and also posts timely information not found on the mocosocoBirds web site.


Finis


Posted in Morris County, Somerset County | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prothonotary Warbler at Lincoln Park – May 21, 2016

Prothonotary Warbler, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, NJ, May 21, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Prothonotary Warbler, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, NJ, May 21, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

On the morning of Tuesday, May 24, Roger Johnson hit the jackpot at the Lincoln Park Gravel Pits (“the Pits”) tallying more than 80 species. Included in this total was a singing Mourning Warbler which was found and barely photographed by this observer later in the afternoon (see that mocosocoBirds post here).

Also on that day, a Prothonotary Warbler was seen and heard by Roger at the beaver dam near the berm separating the municipal swimming lake from the Pits’ main lake. It was not found in the afternoon.

Incidentally, the beavers are having a chew-fest with the trees at the Pits. In the course of one-half year they have obliterated a section of young willows from the north end of the main lake and amazingly done the same with a stand of young trees at the south end. Beaver-ness is evident around the entire perimeter of the lake.

Yellow-billed Cuckoos (YBCU) are widespread during the past week with multiple individuals present at many suitable locations in Morris County. The Pits had at least four this morning. An interesting note about the YBCU in the photo below is that he vocalized with the worm in his bill, pulsating his throat while uttering the percussive ka-ka-ka-ka-kow-kow-kow-kow-kowlp-kowlp-kowlp. 

Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, NJ, May 21, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, NJ, May 21, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The Birds of North America Online states that the Yellow-billed Cuckoo “has been dubbed the Raincrow because of its apparent tendency to call more frequently on cloudy days”. It certainly was cloudy this morning with multiple Yellow-billed Cuckoos frequently calling, although their proficiency as a forecaster of rain is not substantiated.

The Yellow-billed Cuckoo in the above photo almost drowned out the subject of this post. After departing from an extended stay with the Cuckoo, this observer heard another interesting song. It goes something like this: song of the Prothonotary Warbler (at the Pits).

It took ten or more minutes to finally track down the source of this song. The photo at the top of this post is of the singer on the recording, once known as the Golden Swamp Warbler. The location is approximately 2,500 feet southeast from the beaver dam where it was seen on May 21, according to the Google Maps distance calculator. The Prothonotary Warbler (PROW) was very territorial and singing constantly. The moss in the PROW’s bill gives evidence to a possible nesting attempt.

A female was not seen, although a potential nesting site was witnessed. There are no known breeding records of PROW in this section of Morris County. PROWs have bred periodically for years at the Great Swamp NWR. Other than that, the only known possible record in Morris is one from the Denville/Tourne County Park area during the New Jersey Breeding Bird Atlas of the 1990s. If any other Morris breeding records are known please send them to mocosocoBirds.

Not a frequently recorded member of the northern New Jersey avifauna, another Prothonotary Warbler is reported this week on Thunder Mountain Road in Sussex County. Read the Sussex County Bird Club’s sighting page here.

A fraction of Tuesday’s shorebirds at the Pits were present today with only 14 Least Sandpipers, a pair of Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, one Solitary Sandpiper and at least 11 Spotted Sandpipers.

Not a single migrant passerine was recorded today at the Pits. As stated in this space previously, the Pits is not an easy place to get around in. You can enter via a path at the north end near Kamm Street and walk the berm. This is publicly accessible as far as is known. Any where else in the Pits? – you are on your own. A disconcerting development is the increased presence this year of destructive ATV trails with many muddy tracks in the heart of the shorebird habitat.


View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:

The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the mocosocoBirds.com website.


@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.

The mocosocoBirds Facebook page is located here and also posts timely information not found on the mocosocoBirds web site.


Finis


Posted in Morris County, Somerset County | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mourning Warbler, Shorebirds in Morris – May 17, 2016

The Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, an historic Morris birding location from the 1960s through the early 1980s, proved to be a local hotspot today. 80+ species were tallied in the morning by Roger Johnson. The highlights are 18 warbler species including Mourning and Prothonotary Warblers, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and only the second known record of White-rumped Sandpiper in Morris County in the past 40 years.

In the afternoon, the alleged same Mourning Warbler was seen and barely photographed as witnessed in the photo below, before two young boys (younger than teen-age) on ATVs passed by, spooking the Mourning Warbler. It was not relocated.

Mourning Warbler, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, NJ, May 17, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Mourning Warbler, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, NJ, May 17, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The White-rumped Sandpiper was not seen in the afternoon. 76 Least Sandpipers, 1 Semipalmated Plover, 5 Lesser Yellowlegs and 4 Greater Yellowlegs as well as 5 Killdeer, 2 Solitary Sandpipers and 1 Spotted Sandpiper were foraging on the partially flooded flats of the Pits.

Semipalmated Plover, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, NJ, May 17, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Semipalmated Plover, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, NJ, May 17, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The Gravel Pits is not a convenience birding destination. Explicit directions are not given here because there really is no easy way to get around in the pits unless you know it. Walking the berm between the municipal lake and the Pits main pond is the only relatively convenient path. Other than that, you are on your own and wear boots if you go.

Least Sandpiper, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, NJ, May 17, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Least Sandpiper, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, NJ, May 17, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:

The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the mocosocoBirds.com website.


@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.

The mocosocoBirds Facebook page is located here and also posts timely information not found on the mocosocoBirds web site.


Finis


Posted in Morris County, Somerset County | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Weekend Bird Migration – May 15, 2016

Acadian Flycatcher, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, Jefferson Twp., NJ, May 14, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Acadian Flycatcher, Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, Jefferson Twp., NJ, May 14, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

During the past two days, migrant songbirds were as plentiful as can be in the 21st century throughout the state of New Jersey. At least for the present, the phenomena of mid-May migration that New Jersey is enjoying represents a beautiful and exciting glimpse of the natural world Homo sapiens has the ability to preserve and nurture.

This writer remembers listening to older birders thirty years ago bemoaning the decreasing amount of spring migrants just as contemporary older birders do at the current time in 2016. What observers have witnessed the past two weekends, as numerous migrants have seemingly been dumped in our laps and adjectives such as “memorable” are used to describe the event, would probably rate an average grade, at best, in generations past.


New Jersey Audubon’s World Series of Birding occurred on May 14 from 00:00:00 to 23:59:59. The strategy for many of the teams is to start at the Great Swamp NWR for nocturnal marsh birds. The usual Virginia Rails, Soras, Bitterns, Owls and the other You-really-expect-me-to-believe-you-heard-that species were tallied.

What many teams may have missed was a King Rail in the management area that a crew of Morris County birders, out on a casual friendly outing, heard and recorded at dawn. A brief sampling of the kek-brrrr call the rail uttered for a lengthy time (with competition from Yellow Warblers, Red-winged Blackbirds, et al) is here.

At nearly the same time the King Rail was vocalizing, a pair of Common Nighthawks appeared hunting in the misty morning dawn light.

This same group of Morris adventurers tallied a respectable 24 warbler species in the Morris Highlands and environs including Louisiana Waterthrush, Cape May, Hooded, Chestnut-sided, Blackpoll, Wilson’s, Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue and Blackburnian Warblers in the Lake Denmark area; Pine Warblers at Deerhaven Lake; 14 species of warblers in Mahlon Dickerson Reservation including Worm-eating, Northern Waterthrush, Hooded, Bay-breasted and Canada Warblers. Most of the Mahlon Dickerson warblers are nesters.

The Acadian Flycatcher in the photo at the top of this post is at Mahlon Dickerson Reservation near the “Pine Swamp” along the white-blazed Pine Swamp trail accessed via Sparta Mountain Road, the northwest corner of Morris County. This species is found here nearly every year. A second Acadian Flycatcher was at the other reliable location along Weldon Brook on the Ogden Mine RR trail accessed from Saffin Pond.

Inexplicably, the usually reliable Least Flycatchers at Mahlon Dickerson have yet to put in an appearance.

Cerulean Warblers have returned to Waterloo Valley Road as have a small number of Bank Swallows to the colony at Tilcon Lake.


Despite blustery, cool conditions today, May 15, migrants continue to spread themselves throughout the Morris area. 14 species of warblers were found at Troy Meadows this morning including at least 2 Wilson’s Warblers as well as Canada Warblers and Northern Waterthrushes.

Wilson's Warbler, Troy Meadows, NJ, May 15, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Wilson’s Warbler, Troy Meadows, NJ, May 15, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

4 Solitary Sandpipers were along a short stretch of Troy Brook on Troy Meadows Road.

Solitary Sandpiper, Troy Meadows, NJ, May 15, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Solitary Sandpiper, Troy Meadows, NJ, May 15, 2016 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


Lincoln Sparrows are reported today from the Great Swamp NWR (Simon Lane) and Troy Meadows (Roger Johnson).


Dave Blinder found a White-eyed Vireo today in a swamp at Wildcat Ridge WMA off of Upper Hibernia Road, Rockaway Township. This is proving to be a scarce species in Morris during 2016.

White-eyed Vireo, Rockaway Twp., NJ, May 15, 2016 (photo by David Blinder)

White-eyed Vireo, Rockaway Twp., NJ, May 15, 2016 (photo by David Blinder)


Jim Mulvey snagged the following White-crowned Sparrow image at the Great Swamp NWR yesterday, May 14.

White-crowned Sparrow, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, May 14, 2016 (photo by Jim Mulvey)

White-crowned Sparrow, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, May 14, 2016 (photo by Jim Mulvey)


Many checklists and interesting sightings exist for the past few days, too many to list here. This is to be expected during this exciting time of year. View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:

The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the mocosocoBirds.com website.


@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.

The mocosocoBirds Facebook page is located here and also posts timely information not found on the mocosocoBirds web site.


Finis


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Raptor Trust Benefit: May 22, 2016

Raptor Trust

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