Birds of April Wrap-up – Apr. 30 2017

Little Blue Heron at Great Swamp NWR

Little Blue Heron, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, Apr. 30, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image).

Little Blue Herons are a mostly annual visitor to Morris County but often with only one or two reports. 2014 was the once-in-a-life exception as Little Blue Heron juveniles invaded the Melanie Lane Wetlands and the Lincoln Park Gravel Pits (see that post here).

An adult Little Blue Heron was found along Pleasant Plains Road, Great Swamp NWR on April 29 by Simon Lane. It continues through today, Sunday, April 30. Chris Thomas created a map on his eBird checklist with the exact location of the Little Blue Heron. The link for that map is here.

The Little Blue Heron was frequenting the field on the east side of Pleasant Plains Road opposite the two ponds on the west side of Pleasant Plains Road before reaching the 90° turn. It was hunting in a wet, marshy depression and could easily be hidden from view. On a few occasions, it flew to trees neighboring this field on both the north and south sides to roost momentarily before returning to the hunting area.


Other Birds

A pair of Snowy Egrets showed up April 29 at a private superfund site in Somerset County (Jeff Ellerbusch).

Snowy Egrets, Somerset Co., NJ, Apr. 29, 2017 (photo by Jeff Ellerbusch)

Elsewhere, bird migration is humming along. It could be a distorted perception, but it seems to this writer that species are arriving at slightly earlier than usual dates in 2017. It could also be the eBird phenomenon where everyone knows where everything is almost instantaneously that is causing this perception.

BirdCast.info has a northeast migration forecast through May 5, here.

Follow mocosocoBirds on Facebook. The link is here. It is quicker to publish information and photos sooner via that medium than through a blog. mocosocoBirds sees an increased usage of that medium in the near future.


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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Gulls on Opie Road, Hillsborough Twp. – Apr.25, 2017

117 Lesser Black-backed Gulls on Opie Road

Breaking news:

The wet weather has dropped hundreds of gulls on Opie Road. Jeff Ellerbusch reports 1 Laughing Gull, 1 Iceland Gull, 117(!) Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 14 Herring Gulls and 500 Ring-billed Gulls. The gulls are mostly at the west end of Opie Road in the large sloped field. The 117 Lesser Black-backed Gulls obliterates the Somerset County record of 64 set on April 22. That total wiped out the previous county high.


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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Shorebirds at Troy Meadows – Apr. 23, 2017

Great Egret, Troy Meadows, NJ, Apr. 23, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo to view a larger image)

Morris County is bereft of shorebird habitat, as anyone familiar with the area knows. Suitable sites change season by season, year by year, so when one finds more that two species anywhere in the county during an outing, it is a good day.

Troy Brook coursing through Troy Meadows was busy today near the boardwalk crossing and the old eagle nest. Certainly not with any great numbers, but with Wilson’s Snipe, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpipers and a pair of Great Egrets keeping the brook company on a gorgeous, clear morning.

Greater Yellowlegs, Troy Meadows, NJ, Apr. 23, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Solitary Sandpiper, Troy Meadows, NJ, Apr. 23, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Despite environmental pressures from every side, Troy Meadows continues to be a wildlife oasis. A historically famous wetland to metropolitan ornithologists in the early 20th century, Roger Tory Peterson, Ludlow Griscom and Charles Urner to name a few, the main protector of Troy Meadows today falls under the duty of Wildlife Preserves…and you and me.

Keep Saturday, June 10, 2017, in mind. That is Troy Meadows Trash Clean-up Day from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Set your GPS to 275 Troy Meadows Rd., Parsippany, NJ to join in and participate.

Below is a view of Troy Meadows’ namesake, Troy Brook, with part of the old boardwalk peeking out of the cattails. The stories that boardwalk could tell! Certainly, many Morris old-timers can recall the many marsh birds encountered from there, and the occasional fall through a rotten or missing plank complete with creosote-stained pants, that many, including this writer, endured.

Troy Brook, Troy Meadows, NJ, Apr. 23, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


Other Birds

The two Red-necked Grebes found yesterday (see this post) continue to spend some restful time at the north end of Boonton Reservoir. Below is a photo with the typical distant Boonton Reservoir view. The grebes are visible from the footbridge at the north end but a scope is necessary unless you have an active imagination.

Red-necked Grebes, Boonton Reservoir, NJ, Apr. 23, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


As much as Melanie Lane Wetlands has been abused and disturbed, it continues to be a magnet for birds. 2 Blue-winged Teal continue as they have the past week as well as 4 Northern Shovelers and 6 Green-winged Teal. 6 Great Egrets were in the water as well as a Great Blue Heron. 5 Greater Yellowlegs were together in a group earlier this morning signaling the beginning of Morris County’s modest spring shorebird season.


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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Red-necked Grebes; April birds – Apr. 22, 2017

Two Red-necked Grebes at Boonton Reservoir

Red-necked Grebes, Boonton Reservoir, NJ, Apr. 22, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The first Red-necked Grebes in Morris County in 2017 and the only ones at Boonton Reservoir since April 2015 appeared on a rainy Saturday, this morning. The grebes were at the north end of the reservoir, just south of the dam, and were content to float and eventually rest.

Only one Ring-billed Gull was seen. A Common Loon, hundreds of swallows, and the residents of the island made up the reservoir’s bird life today. The Great Egret crowd of at least six was at their usual station at the base and middle part of the island.

A Black-crowned Night-Heron was seen at the north end of the island. Black-crowned Night-Herons are under-reported on the island because they are too hard to see considering the distance. The commotion of the Double-crested Cormorant and Great Blue Heron nests contributes to the visual cacophony. Visibility will be even more difficult when full leaf-out occurs in a few weeks.


Bald Eagles

Two eaglets were seen in the Mt. Hope Lake nest, and two more were visible in the Lake Hopatcong eagle nest. The eagles at Troy Meadows and Duke Farms had failed nests.


…and it rained Lesser Black-backed Gulls on Opie Road

Today’s wet weather brought a record high count for Somerset County of Lesser Black-backed Gulls on Opie Road in Hillsborough Twp. 64 were counted plus another 8 at nearby Norz Farm. The gulls were moving around so approximately 80 were probably in the area (Jeff Ellerbusch).

520 Ring-billed Gulls were also on Opie Road which is in Somerset County. This is interesting because you could barely find any gull in Morris County today.


Other Birds

There is not enough space to write and not enough time to read all of the reports of returning bird species in the Morris and Somerset area at this time. It is best to use the eBird Region reports (links are given at the bottom of this post) to get a grasp of what is where and when.

This post closes with photos from this morning’s adventures. Click on the photos for a larger image.

Brown Thrasher, Troy Meadows, NJ, Apr. 22, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Rusty Blackbird, Troy Meadows, NJ, Apr. 22, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Double-crested Cormorants, Lake Hopatcong, NJ, Apr. 22,2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


Louisiana Waterthrush Video by David Blinder

Below, view a video of a Louisiana Waterthrush at Jonathan’s Woods in Denville from this morning, filmed by David Blinder. Very possibly, the embedded video will not show in the email version of the post but should display on the browser version of the post. If you do not see the video below, click on this link: Louisiana Waterthrush at Jonathans Woods NJ. You may need to click the start button on the transport to get the video rolling.


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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Trumpeter Swan, Rails, and Bitterns – Apr. 12, 2017

Trumpeter Swan at Lake Parsippany

Morris County’s first accepted record for Trumpeter Swan was in June of 2016 (i.e. considered to be of genuine wild origin). See the link here.

On Sunday, April 9, Californian Ben Newhouse photographed a dark-billed swan at Lake Parsippany. After viewing the photograph, it was determined to be a probable Trumpeter Swan. The swan was not present at Lake Parsippany either Monday or Tuesday, April 10 and 11.

Rob Fanning relocated the swan this morning, April 12. The swan was present throughout the morning which is when the following photos were taken.

The swan shows the features of a Trumpeter Swan: a long straight bill unlike the shorter slightly curved bill of a Tundra Swan

Trumpeter Swan, Lake Parsippany, NJ, Apr. 12, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for larger image.)

Trumpeter Swan, Lake Parsippany, NJ, Apr. 12, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The head comes to an edge, or point, towards the back of the head unlike Tundra Swan’s rounded head.

Trumpeter Swan, Lake Parsippany, NJ, Apr. 12, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

A ‘V’,  or point, is formed where the upper mandible meets the forehead, unlike the Tundra Swan’s rounded border. This is a key difference. The eyes merge with the black of the bill, whereas Tundra Swan’s eyes seem almost, but not quite, separate from the bill.

Trumpeter Swan, Lake Parsippany, NJ, Apr. 12, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Trumpeter Swan, Lake Parsippany, NJ, Apr. 12, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

The Lake Parsippany Trumpeter Swan shares a feature with the 2016 Trumpeter Swan in that they are both slightly smaller than the neighboring Mute Swans. Is this the same swan as last years? Probably not. The grayish plumage on the neck marks this as an immature Trumpeter Swan as was the 2016 swan.

To this observer’s thinking, this completely rules out the Bernardsville Trumpeter Swans as well. They have never been known to breed. It is thought the parents of the Bernardsville progeny were destroyed.

An excellent document for distinguishing Trumpeter from Tundra Swans is at David Sibley’s website, here.


Please note: Trumpeter Swan is a review species for the state of New Jersey. The NJ Bird Record Committee will review this record at a later date. Please send reports to the committee. Forms for reporting can be found on this page.


eBird users: if you visit Lake Parsippany and list this swan, please give detailed descriptions in the comment section mentioning all of the pertinent features. Photos are preferred. Simply saying “continuing” will cause an immediate invalidation of the record.

For now, on eBird, the Trumpeter Swan will be validated, or confirmed as end-users know it, as long as there is a detailed description (see the above paragraph). This is so it appears on the species map lists and any other reports that people use to find species of interest. If at a later date the NJ Bird Record Committee rejects the record due to unknown provenance or any other reason, all eBird records of this sighting will be invalidated.


Rails and Bitterns

Rails and bitterns are moving into appropriate habitats in the Morris and Somerset region.

American Bitterns were heard over Lord Stirling Park early on April 10. A Virginia Rail called near the overlook on Pleasant Plains Rd., Great Swamp NWR on the evening of Apr. 11 (Jeff Ellerbusch, et al).

This morning at Frelinghuysen Fields and Marsh in Harding Township, a visually reclusive Eastern Meadowlark sang often in the west field near the pasture. After flushing several Wilson’s Snipe near the small marsh in the west field, this observer was startled when an American Bittern rose up from vegetation near the edge of the marsh and flew westward out of sight towards property run by the Great Swamp Watershed Association. Not knowing if the camera was turned on or what settings were current, the photographer quickly fired off some blurry fly-away photos of which the following is the most usable, barely.

American Bittern, Harding Twp., NJ, Apr. 12, 2017 (documentation 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


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

Birds of Early Spring – April 3, 2017

Yellow-headed Blackbird, Hillsborough, NJ, Mar. 31, 2017 (photo by Catherine Longi)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

Catherine Longi had a feeder bird to remember on March 31 as an adult male Yellow-headed Blackbird visited her yard in Hillsborough for one day. There are scant reports of this species in Somerset County although another male on March 30, 2015 is the most recent record.


Storms at the end of March brought the first wave of Bonaparte’s Gulls to the region. Five were on Lake Musconetcong April 1 (Alan Boyd).


A Black-crowned Night-Heron returned to Jefferson Road Pond on March 30 (Rob Fanning). This is the earliest known date of this species’ arrival at the pond in the five-year period of its monitoring. A few observers looked for them today with the high count of 9 (!) seen by Julie Stroffolino representing the highest tally for Morris County in the eBird database.

Black-crowned Night-Heron, Parsippany, NJ, Apr. 1, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)


A drake Eurasian Wigeon was with a group of American Wigeon, Gadwall and Common Mergansers on a very windy March 29 at Lake Musconetcong. More than likely, this is the same Eurasian Wigeon that has been at the west Morris lakes since October. It was gone after that date.


Other storm-related birds were at Boonton Reservoir on March 28: 9 Red-breasted Mergansers (8 in the photo below), 2 Red-throated Loons, 3 Common Loons and a Horned Grebe.

Red-breasted Mergansers, Boonton Reservoir, NJ, Mar. 28, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

180 Double-crested Cormorants were easy to count as they were floating in rafts near the island. 50 Great Blue Herons were counted on the island. 7 Great Egrets (the white specks in the photo below) popped up along with the Great Blue Herons, Double-crested Cormorants and Crows when the adult Bald eagle shifted its perching position.

The Island at Boonton Reservoir, NJ, Mar. 28, 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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Troy Meadows Presentation at Great Swamp NWR on Sunday, April 9, 2017

Come to the presentation about Troy Meadows on Sunday, April 9. It will take place at the Fenske Visitors Center located on Pleasant Plains Road in the Great Swamp at 1:30 PM.

Troy Meadows has a rich history. Located in Morris County, Troy Meadows is one of the vestiges of prehistoric Lake Passaic, as is the Great Swamp.  The presentation will highlight many aspects of this natural gem.

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Birds of March – Mar. 26, 2017

Common Loons, Lake Hopatcong, NJ, Mar. 26, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image)

Much is not expected from February. Winter continues. Snow, ice and freezing temperatures are likely. In this writer’s life-long New Jersey experience, February often offers a climate tease of what will come during spring. This occurred with coat-less temperatures towards the end of the month bringing Tree Swallows and other early migrants along with it (see Kenn Kaufman’s Audubon.org article, How Different Spring Migrants Decide When to Head North, and thanks to John Bloomfield’s Facebook post for bringing attention to this).

The median temperature for NJ Climate Division 1 (North) during February 2017 was 37.1 F degrees, the highest average for February since record collection was systematized in 1895. See the NJ State Climatologist table, here. Think back to 2015 when the February average was 18.8 F degrees, the third coldest since 1895.

Regarding March 2017, the weather has been abysmal, with a snow storm that thankfully fell well short of the accumulation predictions, and frigid temperatures for successive weeks that left this writer content to stay indoors.

Fortunately, the past few days have reignited spring migration fervor. Eastern Phoebe numbers are increasing. Osprey were reported from various places in Morris and Somerset yesterday. Waterfowl are moving through the region. 10 Common Loons were on Lake Hopatcong this morning. Hundreds of Tree Swallows were swarming over the lake as well. A Lesser Yellowlegs today in Bridgewater is the first Tringa species of the year in either Somerset or Morris Counties.

Eastern Phoebe, Troy Meadows, NJ, Mar. 25, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

A vanguard of Double-crested Cormorants and Great Blue Herons inhabited the nesting island at Boonton Reservoir during the last mild week of February. Every one of them left with the deep freeze of March. They have returned en masse this past week with 100 Double-crested Cormorants (there will be more!) and 25 visible Great Blue Herons engaged in nesting activities.

Winter does not go easily. Saturday’s mild temperature gave way to a raw 35 F degree Sunday morning. Ice still covers portions of Morris lakes, as the following American Wigeons at Lake Musconetcong can attest to.

American Wigeon, Lake Musconetcong, NJ, Mar. 26, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

For what it is worth, the weather forecast for the next two weeks shows the temperature staying above freezing throughout the period. The transition into April is historically a time for Grebes, Loons, Bonaparte’s Gulls, Long-tailed Ducks and other waterfowl to visit making bodies of water worthy of frequent checking.

Mammals on the prowl. 

The color of this Eastern Coyote’s coat blends beautifully with the late March hues of Troy Meadows marsh and woodland edge. DNA studies show that the larger Eastern Coyote, or Coywolf, is a likely hybrid of the Western Coyote (Canis latrans) and Eastern Wolf (Canis lycaon) earning the taxon, Canis latrans x lycaon.

Eastern Coyote/Coywolf, Troy Meadows, NJ, Mar. 25, 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


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

Barn Swallow at the Great Swamp NWR – Mar. 5, 2017

The following frigid temperature greeted north New Jersey this morning:

This was after a gusty, blustery, brutally cold Saturday with the temperature never getting above the freezing mark and feeling much colder. Despite the cold, and besides getting a photograph of a gorgeous adult Red-shouldered Hawk, John Bloomfield spotted a Tree Swallow at the Great Swamp NWR, a hardy swallow indeed.  The previous weekend saw early Tree Swallows in Morris County but the weather was balmy compared with March 4.

Red-shouldered Hawk, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, Mar. 4, 2017 (photo by John Bloomfield)

Red-shouldered Hawk, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, Mar. 4, 2017 (photo by John Bloomfield)

(Click on the photo for a larger image.)

We are not done with swallows yet.

Take a look at this screenshot of an eBird species map of reported Barn Swallows generated on the afternoon of March 5, 2017. You can click on it to get a larger image.

Barn Swallows reported in 2017 as of March 5, 2017 (eBird species map)

Barn Swallows reported in 2017 as of March 5, 2017 (eBird species map)

Other than Florida, the Gulf Coast and Texas, Barn Swallows have not been reported in the eastern United States. The lone Indiana report is from Feb. 19 and the observer did not consider it worthy of any written comments raising the eyebrow of this eBird reviewer.

Below is an eBird species map of reported Barn Swallows generated at approximately 8:15 PM on March 5, 2017. Note the New Jersey pinpoint as well as sightings in Tennessee and Arkansas. New Jersey is not alone finding Barn Swallows today.

Barn Swallows reported in 2017 as of March 5, 2017 (eBird species map)

Barn Swallows reported in 2017 as of March 5, 2017 (eBird species map)

Jeff Ellerbusch documents the occasion with photographs and was told other people saw it during the day but were unsure of the identification. March 5 and a Barn Swallow in New Jersey? And not even in Cape May?

Barn Swallow, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, Mar. 5, 2017 (photo by Jeff Ellerbusch)

Barn Swallow, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, Mar. 5, 2017 (photo by Jeff Ellerbusch)

Following is a bar chart and frequency graph from the eBird database specifically based on records from Morris and Somerset Counties.

Barn Swallow in Morris and Somerset Counties

Barn Swallow in Morris and Somerset Counties

(Click on the image for a larger rendering.)

The earliest known Barn Swallow arrival dates in north New Jersey are during the last few days of March and even these are represented by a small handful of records. The bar graph and frequency chart show that the majority of Barn Swallows arrive in Morris and Somerset Counties from mid-April into May. A sighting on March 5 in Morris County is simply extraordinary and an absurdity of nature!

Barn Swallow, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, Mar. 5, 2017 (photo by Jeff Ellerbusch)

Barn Swallow, Great Swamp NWR, NJ, Mar. 5, 2017 (photo by 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


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

February Birds Wrap-up – Feb. 28, 2017

The vanguard of Double-crested Cormorants has returned to the island at Boonton Reservoir. 12 were seen on the north side this afternoon. This is approximately 7-14 days earlier at this location than the trend of recent years. Great Blue Herons are already inhabiting their nests on the island with at least 14 visible today.

On Saturday, February 25, three Tree Swallows appeared at Deerhaven Lake in Jefferson Township. This is the earliest recorded date in Morris County for this species in the eBird database.

The Eurasian Wigeon of Lake Hopatcong continues as of  Feb. 25. At least two of the Tundra Swans remain as of February 26. In general, most of the large gulls seem to have left with the melting ice.

In a mild winter with much open water, duck species diversity is poor this season and seems to have dissipated further in the past week. A private pond in Roxbury held five Aythya species on the weekend of Feb. 18 with 1,200 Ring-necked Ducks, 4-10 Redheads (10 on the weekend of Feb. 11), 3 Canvasbacks, Lesser Scaup and 2 Greater Scaup in company with American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, etc. On Feb. 26, only 200+ Ring-necked Ducks remained with a smattering of Green-winged Teal and Gadwall.

Many of the local resident Bald Eagles are in nesting mode. Other young Bald Eagles can be found at many locations.

Bald Eagles, Split Rock Reservoir, Morris Co., NJ, Feb. 25, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Bald Eagles, Split Rock Reservoir, Morris Co., NJ, Feb. 25, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

(Click on the photo for a larger image)

Bald Eagle, Deerhaven Lake, Morris Co., NJ, Feb. 25, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Bald Eagle, Deerhaven Lake, Morris Co., NJ, Feb. 25, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

It is a lean season for Rough-legged Hawks in Morris and Somerset Counties. The only reliable reports are of a sighting on Feb. 17 at the Great Swamp NWR and several from Duke Farms, with the last at that location on Feb. 15.

The only Horned Larks reported in Morris County this winter were one in Chester Twp. on Feb. 18 (Jeff Ellerbusch) and 7 at the Montville Community Gardens on Feb. 15 (Garry Annibal) with at least one remaining until Feb. 19.

Horned Lark, Montville Twp., NJ, Feb. 19, 2017 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)

Horned Lark, Montville Twp., NJ, Feb. 19, 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. Field reports and links of interest are tweeted throughout the day, occasionally. 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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