Ron Pittaway’s annual Winter Finch Forecast for 2017-18

Do not expect many boreal species in north New Jersey this winter. Bumper cone crops, or as Ron Pittaways says: “the best cone crop in a decade or more”, will keep most of the winter finches satiated in the north.

Ron Pittaway’s annual Winter Finch Forecast for 2017-18

Good birding,

mocosocoBirds

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Birds, everywhere – Sep. 9, 2019

Here is the precipitation radar from this morning, Saturday, at 5:30 AM. As you can see, the northeast is bone-dry:

And here is the reflectivity radar (i.e. birds) from 5:15 this morning:


This represents an explosion of migrants in the east. Of course, results will vary depending on the location.

The consensus from around the state seems to offer ground truth for the radar image. In other words, migrant birds were everywhere this morning.

Prairie Warbler, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, Morris Co., NJ, Sep. 9, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

A trip to the Lincoln Park Gravel Pits in search of shorebirds turned up Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and a pair of Killdeer. No other shorebirds. The continuing Glossy Ibis, Little Blue Herons, 9 Great Egrets, 13 Great Blue Herons and 5 Blue-winged Teal seemed to be the highlights of the morning until a return to the woods showed the earlier radar was on target.

Everywhere one looked, warblers were in the trees. 14 species were tallied in a small section of the woods on the north side of the lake. Multiples of Tennessee, Bay-breasted and Cape May Warblers were easily the highlights. Singletons of many species were present. Other species were missed for sure. Similar scenarios played out at Troy Meadows and Glenhurst Meadows as well.

Tennessee Warbler, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, Morris Co., NJ, Sep. 9, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The forecast for Saturday night into Sunday morning is for continued northerly winds. In fact, as this is being written on a Saturday night, the current reflectivity radar looks like this:

See you in the field tomorrow morning.


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.


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.


Finis


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White Ibis at Troy Meadows in Morris Co. – Sep. 7, 2017

White Ibis, Troy Meadows, NJ, Sep. 7, 2017 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

Morris County’s third record of White Ibis was found today by Chuck Hantis at Troy Meadows. The juvenile White Ibis was in Troy Brook when Chuck first saw it fly in at approximately 9:30 AM. It was in a section of Troy Brook close to the gas-line cut and Troy Meadows Road.

White Ibis, Troy Meadows, NJ, Sep. 7, 2017 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

It was relocated at 4:30 PM further west along Troy Brook, deeper into the woods, just east of the gas-line. Troy Brook bends and winds through woodland in this area. This is not a place where one expects to find a White Ibis.

White Ibis, Troy Meadows, NJ, Sep. 7, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Fortunately, word got out and a few other birders were able to view the Ibis. This continues a remarkable year in New Jersey for sightings of this species, although all of those records are along the New Jersey coast with Monmouth County being the furthest north until today.

The previous records of White Ibis in Morris County both occurred in the Great Swamp NWR: 1977 and 2009.


Other Birds

Below is a pair of Chuck Hantis’s photos of a Cape May Warbler found at Troy Meadows on Sep. 1, not far from where the White Ibis was first seen today. Please click on the photos for a larger image. It is worth it.

Cape May Warbler, Troy Meadows, NJ, Sep. 1, 2017 (photo by Chuck Hantis)

Cape May Warbler, Troy Meadows, NJ, Sep. 1, 2017 (photo by Chuck Hantis)


This morning, Selody Sod Farm had 3 American Golden Plovers, 171 Killdeer, 2 Pectoral Sandpipers and a Semipalmated Sandpiper (Jeff Ellerbusch).


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.


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.


Finis


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Birds and insects in out-of-the-way places – Aug. 31, 2017

Bobolink, Hanover Twp., NJ, Aug. 31, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

A visit to the abandoned Whippany Paper Board property in Hanover Twp. this morning, known with the eBird Hotspot alias of Central Park (Hanover Twp.), produced 40 species of birds including 2 Common Ravens, 5 Bobolinks, Blue-winged and Yellow Warblers, Least and Solitary Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs, and 2 “Traill’s” Flycatchers, etc.

Common Ravens, Hanover Twp., NJ, Aug. 31, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Solitary Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Hanover Twp., NJ, Aug. 31, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

A Giant Swallowtail put in a surprise appearance. Other butterfly species were Pearl Crescents (abundant), Wild Indigo, Monarch, Clouded and Orange Sulphurs and Red-banded Hairstreak.

Giant Swallowtail, Hanover Twp., NJ, Aug. 31, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Wild Indigo Duskywing, Hanover Twp., NJ, Aug. 31, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Countless thousands of grasshoppers were everywhere in the weedy, grassy habitat. Most are likely the very common Red-legged Grasshopper (Melanoplus femurrubrum). Corrections to this identification are heartily welcome.

Red-legged Grasshopper (Melanoplus femurrubrum), Hanover Twp., NJ, Aug. 31, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

This is not a place to go out of your way to visit but simply one of the many oddball locations yours truly likes to explore.

Since 2011, mocosocoBirds attempts to publicize little-known places in Morris and Somerset Counties to the general public in order to expand the knowledge of nature in our local surroundings.

mocosocoBirds hopes that people will find their own out-of-the-way places to explore and share.


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.


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.


Finis


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Lark Sparrow in Somerset Co.; migration notes – Aug. 24, 2017

Lark Sparrow at Wagner Arboretum (Glenhurst Meadows)

Lark Sparrow, Wagner Arboretum, Warren Twp., Somerset Co., NJ, Aug. 24, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

Mike Newlon found a Lark Sparrow at the Wagner Arboretum section of Glenhurst Meadows in Warren Twp., Somerset Co. today. Observers viewed the sparrow throughout the afternoon.

Lark Sparrow, Wagner Arboretum, Warren Twp., Somerset Co., NJ, Aug. 24, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

It was frequenting the northwest portion of the parking area of the Community Garden. Cones were set up so gardeners entering the site would not disturb the rarity while parking. Occasionally, the Lark Sparrow took to the air but always returned to the same location (see the pinpoint on the screen shot of a map below).


According to available records, this is only the second occurrence of Lark Sparrow in Somerset County. The first was in Hillsborough in 2012. The mocosocoBirds post for that occasion is here.


Golden-winged Warblers

On August 22, Alan Boyd had a great yardbird in Roxbury, a male Golden-winged Warbler.

Today, not one, but two, Golden-winged Warblers were found. One at Chimney Rock (Jeff Ellerbusch) and another at Lord Stirling Park (Ben Barkley).

Jeff also mentioned that today  was one of the best warbler mornings he has had at Chimney Rock, as far as volume. Seventeen warbler species along with a Philadelphia Vireo were tallied. Jeff also had a flyover Upland Sandpiper during a nocturnal count elsewhere in Warren Twp.

This morning’s migration map was spot on for some locations.


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.


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.


Finis


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Buff-breasted Sandpiper in Morris County – Aug. 22, 2017

Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 22, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image)

The last record mocosocoBirds has of a Buff-breasted Sandpiper in Morris County is from 1990 – twenty-seven years ago. That drought ended today, August 22, 2017, as a gorgeous Buff-breasted Sandpiper showed itself at the Lincoln Park Gravel Pits.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 22, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The sandpiper was first found by Rob Fanning and this observer at the east shorebird flats. It moved to parts unknown until later in the morning when Roger Johnson and yours truly relocated it at the south end of the main Pits lake. At one point it almost flew into us and landed a mere twelve feet away.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 22, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The Glossy Ibis and Little Blue Heron continue as well as two Pectoral Sandpipers, twenty-five Least Sandpipers, twenty or so Killdeer, one Semipalmated Plover, Solitary and Spotted Sandpipers and eight each of Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs.

Little Blue Heron, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 22, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Glossy Ibis with Mallards, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 22, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Least Sandpiper, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 22, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Lesser Yellowlegs, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 22, 2017 (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.


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.


Finis


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Birds of August – Aug. 19, 2017

Birds at the Lincoln Park Gravel Pits

The Lincoln Park Gravel Pits (“The Pits”) continues to be the most reliable shorebird location in Morris County. In the summer of 2017, it is practically the only shorebird habitat in Morris due to frequent rains that have filled most bodies of water and inundated any other suitable habitat.

This morning, Roger Johnson and this observer were able to find a Glossy Ibis, Little Blue Heron, and continuing shorebirds including Semipalmated Plovers, Killdeer, Least, Pectoral, Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers, and Lesser Yellowlegs. Other species included Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Green Herons, and many Wood Ducks.

The Glossy Ibis is the first reported in Morris County since May 2014.

Glossy Ibis, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 19, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

Glossy Ibis, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 19, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The juvenile Little Blue Heron brings back memories of 2014 when up to five young Little Blue Herons spent August at The Pits at the same time that seven were at the Melanie Lane Wetlands in Hanover Twp., an unprecedented occurrence in Morris County.

Little Blue Heron, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 19, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The previously mentioned shorebirds have spent at least the past week moving from one feeding area to another. Six Semipalmated Plovers were seen in one group at The Pits this morning.

Semipalmated Plover, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 14, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Killdeer and Pectoral Sandpiper, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 14, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Green Herons are numerous at The Pits and probably go undetected more than they are counted. As much as the despised invasive Water Chestnut (Trapa natans) has blanketed most of the main lake at The Pits, the birds seem to thrive on it. Wood Ducks, Cedar Waxwings, Green Herons, and other species actively feed in the green mat. It is doubtful any remediation of this invasive species will be undertaken at this location.

Green Heron, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, Morris Co., NJ, Aug. 19, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

As if a Black-necked Stilt on July 28 was not enough of a memorable sighting at The Pits, the evening of August 1 saw the most remarkable display of egrets ever witnessed and documented in Morris County.

Joseph Campolo saw and photographed, as best he could, thirty-two Great Egrets and seven Snowy Egrets roosting in trees at the municipal lake adjacent to the main lake of The Pits. Both totals are easily the highest ever recorded in Morris County.

Egrets in Lincoln Park, NJ, Aug. 1, 2017 (photo by Joesph Campolo)

Most likely, the egrets came over from the Walker Avenue Wetlands. The Lincoln Park Gravel Pits is across the Pompton River from the Walker Avenue Wetlands in Passaic County. Both places are worth a visit if time permits.


Black Tern in Somerset County

A Black Tern was present at a Superfund site in Bridgewater on August 12 (Jeff Ellerbusch), the fourth known Somerset County record.

Black Tern, Bridgewater, NJ, Aug. 12, 2017 (documentation photo by Jeff Ellerbusch)


Other Birds

An Olive-sided Flycatcher was reported from Troy Meadows this past week along Troy Meadows Road on Aug. 17 and 18 (Rob Fanning, Chris Williams).

A male Blue Grosbeak was seen and described at Kay Environmental Center, Chester on Aug. 18 (Frank Durso).


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.


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.


Finis


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Black-necked Stilt in Morris Co., – July 28, 2017

Black-necked Stilt, Lincoln Park Gravel Pits, July 28, 2017 (photo by Alan Boyd)

Yesterday, July 28, Roger Johnson made another of his many trips to the Lincoln Park Gravel Pits over the last three-plus decades. The Pits is the most reliable shorebird spot in Morris, depending on water levels and this is the time of year to look.

Not content with the usual Least Sandpipers and Lesser Yellowlegs, even a Semipalmated Sandpiper is a nice find in Morris, Roger sighted one of the most remarkable species seen in the county in recent memory, and the first in Morris, a Black-necked Stilt.

Fortunately, Roger texted the finding to a local notification network and the word spread from there. Other birders were able to observe it and photograph this rare north New Jersey visitor.

According to the eBird database, the only other Black-necked Stilt records from New Jersey north of Monmouth County, are from the Meadowlands area and DeKorte Park. The Monmouth records include one near Holmdel in 2005 and Wreck Pond in 2003. All other New Jersey records are from Forsythe NWR (“Brig”) and south from there along the coast.


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.


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.


Finis


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Summer Birds at Deerhaven Lake – July 21, 2017

Deerhaven Lake, Morris Co., NJ, July 21, 2017 (iPhone Pano by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on any of the photos for a larger image.)

Deerhaven Lake is simply a gem of northern Morris County and one of this writer’s favorite locations. Besides one of the most picturesque heronries anywhere in New Jersey, it also has breeding Common Gallinules, Pied-billed Grebes, numerous Wood Ducks and apparently, as three intrepid observers saw today, Least Bitterns along with the many other species typical of this wetlands habitat.

Deerhaven Lake is part of the Newark Watershed. A hiking permit is required to enter the area and can be acquired at the watershed office on Echo Lake Road north of Route 23. Be aware that shotgun-blasting hunters have been observed here during hunting season. Also, be aware there are no trails, per se. It is the classic mocosocoBirds “you are on your own” location.

Common Gallinules, Deerhaven Lake, Morris Co., NJ, July 21, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

A family of six Common Gallinules was observed as long as one wanted to this morning (see the photo above). While watching the family activities, a different Common Gallinule was heard calling from another direction for a total of at least seven.

Common Gallinules, Deerhaven Lake, Morris Co., NJ, July 21, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The family hauled out on a partially submerged log and were unwary of three Homo sapiens relatively close by.

Common Gallinules, Deerhaven Lake, Morris Co., NJ, July 21, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

This species has impressively sized toes in relation to the rest of its body.

Common Gallinule, Deerhaven Lake, Morris Co., NJ, July 21, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

An interesting feature was noticed on the adults that the observers in attendance cannot recall having seen before, probably because most birders do not get the chance to see Common Gallinules walking in shallow water very often, if at all.

Look at the photo below and note the red bands at the top of the bird’s tibias (upper legs) just below the thigh feathers. Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s Birds of North America refers to this band as a”garter of scarlet” (how fashionable). These are present only in the adults. As with all of the photos in this post, click on one to get a larger image in a separate tab or window.

Incidentally, that is not a headless juvenile to the right of the adult. The youth has its head turned to the side.

Common Gallinule, Deerhaven Lake, Morris Co., NJ, July 21, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Sharp-eyed Louis Bizzarro picked out two Least Bitterns in flight just over Phragmites in the distance. Rob Fanning was able to see one soon thereafter and this observer, as well as Louis, saw a Least Bittern straddling some Phragmites stalks before disappearing. This is the first known sighting of this species at this location, although not surprising considering the habitat.

A Pied-billed Grebe was seen and later heard calling. This is a nesting species at Deerhaven Lake. See an August 2016 post for a photo of a family of Pied-billed Grebes out on the lake.

Many of the Great Blue Herons from this magnificent heronry have dispersed, although twenty-plus Great Blue Herons continue to feed at the lake.

Great Blue Herons, Deerhaven Lake, Morris Co., NJ, July 21, 2017 (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.


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.


Finis


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Gull-billed Tern, Common Gallinule – June 16, 2017

Gull-billed Tern at Great Swamp NWR

One of the most extraordinary bird sightings of recent memory in Morris County occurred this morning as a group of birders watched and documented a Gull-billed Tern at the Great Swamp NWR.

The Gull-billed Tern was viewed from the Freinds Blind at the Wildlife Observation Center on Long Hill Road. The eBird checklist submitted by Andrea Robbins contains text documentation and photos.

The comment section of the eBird checklist is a model of the pertinent aspects a first observer should document of the sighting when submitting a checklist of a local mega rarity. Besides mentioning the important field marks of the subject bird, the observer also gave details as to why other species were eliminated. The link to the checklist is here.


Common Gallinule at Duke Farms

Common Gallinule, Duke Farms, Hillsborough Twp., NJ, June 15, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Since found on June 7 by Louise Wilkens, a Common Gallinule inhabits Wood Duck Lake at Duke Farms and continues to be seen as of today. This is a special sighting as few of this species occur in Somerset County and none before this record are thoroughly documented.


Clay-colored Sparrow at Six Mile Run

Clay-colored Sparrow, Franklin Twp., NJ, June 11, 2017 (photo by Jeff Ellerbusch)

The Clay-colored Sparrow at Six Mile Run was last reported on June 11 but it is not known if anyone specifically tried to find it since then. Jeff Ellerbusch has an excellent field recording of the Clay-colored Sparrow’s song. The link for that recording is here.


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.


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.


Finis


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