E-mail reports: sightings (at) njaudubon.org
Compilers: Pete Bacinski and Scott Barnes
This is Scott Barnes with the Voice of New Jersey Audubon for Wednesday December 19, 2012 with reports of PINK-FOOTED GOOSE, BARNACLE GOOSE, RUFOUS/ALLEN'S HUMMINGBIRD, ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER, NORTHERN SHRIKE, seasonal and local reports of interest.
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Two BARNACLE GEESE were noted among the huge CANADA GOOSE flock on Lake McCormack at Plainsboro Preserve Dec 16. Also there that day were 2 CACKLING GEESE, PILEATED WOODPECKER, and 3 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS.
Another BARNACLE GOOSE was discovered on Lake Etra in Twin Rivers, Mercer County Dec 16. Also on Lake Etra Dec 16-17 were GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE and 4+ CACKLING GEESE.
The most recent report of the PINK-FOOTED GOOSE at Cushetunk Lake in Whitehouse Station, Hunterdon County was Dec 14. A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE continues there through Dec 16 and a ROSS'S GOOSE was found Dec 17-19. Early or late in the day is best as the geese roost on the lake overnight and disperse to feeding grounds elsewhere during the day.
Possibly the same ROSS'S GOOSE has been seen Dec 16-17 in corn stubble fields at the intersection of Lamington and Black River Roads in Lamington.
The RUFOUS/ALLEN'S HUMMINGBIRD continues at Palmyra Cove Nature Park through Dec 19. Look for the bird at the hummingbird feeder placed along the entrance road in the small copse of trees on the right hand side at the start of the butterfly garden.
The ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER at Medford WMA was seen again Dec 17-18. From Medford, take Brace Rd off Ark Rd and check the field on the left a short way down the road; the bird was feeding from low branches along the woods edge.
Salem County reports this week were of 2 SANDHILL CRANES at Mannington Marsh Dec 14 and a flock of 24 RED CROSSBILLS at Holly Hills WMA off Alloway-Friesburg Rd Dec 16.
Seven TRICOLORED HERONS were noted at the public docks in Barnegat Light Twp Dec 12.
A NORTHERN SHRIKE was found at Assunpink WMA Dec 16-19. It was found in the grassy swale south of the western-most parking area. To reach this spot turn left (west) off Imlaystown Road just before you reach the paved boat launch parking area at Lake Assunpink. Follow the dirt road up a small hill and park under the large trees overlooking the lake. With your back to the lake, walk through the hedgerow across the harvested field to the grassy swale and look for the bird here. NOTE: It's currently small game hunting season at Assunpink WMA, so if you look for the bird it's best to dress wearing bright clothing. Also on Lake Assunpink Dec 16-19 was a RED-NECKED GREBE.
A DOVEKIE and 5+ RAZORBILLS were noted from Manasquan Inlet Dec 15. Five WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS were seen in black pines from the parking lot overlooking the inlet the same day. Other North Shore reports this week included 3 RAZORBILLS off Sea Bright Dec 17, two RAZORBILLS at Shark River Inlet Dec 14-15, two RAZORBILLS off Deal Dec 15, a flock of 20 RED CROSSBILLS and 4 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS in black pines along Roosevelt Ave in Deal Dec 15, and 2 COMMON REDPOLLS at Seven Presidents Park in Long Branch Dec 17. More info about birding this area can be viewed at http://ebird.org/content/nj/news/birding-the-northern-north-shore
A LARK SPARROW (first Somerset County record) was discovered in a mixed-species sparrow flock at Hillsborough Farm in Hillsborough Twp Dec 17-19. The farm is private property, but birders may try and view the sparrow from Hillsborough Road. The Lark Sparrow was feeding on the ground (driveway) next to the hedgerow. Use caution as the road is busy.
Two ICELAND GULLS were seen at Spruce Run Reservoir Dec 15. In nearby Glen Gardner, a CAPE MAY WARBLER visited backyard feeder Dec 16-19.
The GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE continues at Warinanco Park in Roselle/Linden through Dec 14.
A flock of 27 COMMON REDPOLLS was detected at Losen Slote Creek Park in the NJ Meadowlands Dec 16.
Six WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS were noted at the Allendale Celery Farm Dec 16.
Sussex County reports this week were highlighted by the Sussex Christmas Bird Count, which tallied 91 species, including CACKLING GOOSE, REDHEAD, RED-NECKED GREBE at Culver's Lake, ICELAND GULL, EASTERN PHOEBE, 80 COMMON REDPOLLS, and PINE SISKIN. Other birds noted in Sussex County were SANDHILL CRANE at the Liberty Loop trail in Wallkill River NWR Dec 15 and a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL at Franklin Pond Dec 17. Two ICELAND GULLS were found at the Sussex County Landfill in Lafayette Dec 14. Birders must sign in/out of the site at the 2nd floor of the administration building and bird ONLY from up on the hill (not from roads within the complex).
The New Jersey portion of the Lower Hudson CBC Dec 15 produced 88 species with 22 species of waterfowl including 2 CACKLING GEESE, 116 CANVASBACKS, REDHEAD, 1476 RUDDY DUCKS, 51 BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS, SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, count-week BARN OWL & NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS, LONG-EARED OWL, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, LINCOLN'S SPARROW, 26 WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS, and 24 FOX SPARROWS.
The Princeton CBC Dec 16 had 91 species including 2 BARNACLE GEESE, 2 COMMON LOONS, a Plegadis ibis (probably GLOSSY IBIS), OSPREY, 4 BALD EAGLES, COMMON RAVEN, RED CROSSBILL, and a count-week BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON.
The Assunpink CBC Dec 16 recorded 87 species including RED-NECKED GREBE, 3 MERLINS, HOUSE WREN, 40 AMERICAN PIPITS, 2 SANDHILL CRANES, 38 EASTERN SCREECH-OWLS, NORTHERN SHRIKE, an Empidonax Flycatcher species (probably LEAST FLYCATCHER), 22 WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS, 6 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS, and 17 RED CROSSBILLS.
The Lakehurst CBC Dec 15 found 96 species including 5 RAZORBILLS and 5 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS.
Birders aboard a wreck fishing trip 60 miles offshore reported GREAT SHEARWATER, 61 BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES, 51 DOVEKIES, COMMON MURRE, and 14 RAZORBILLS.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, many favored birding locations are currently closed to the public or have limited access. A partial list follows.
NJ Meadowlands/DeKorte Environment Center is closed. The Mill Creek Marsh Trail in Secaucus is open.
Sandy Hook (Gateway National Recreation Area) is closed.
Portions of Forsythe NWR (Brigantine and Holgate Units) are closed. See http://www.facebook.com/ForsytheNWR for updates.
Many coastal and some inland State Parks are closed or have limited access; for updates see http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/parks_open_close.html
A list of open and closed Morris County Parks can be viewed here: http://www.morrisparks.net/pdfs/121114closings.pdf
The Voice of New Jersey Audubon is a weekly report on birding in NJ. To report birds please email sightings AT njaudubon.org. Please submit reports of Review List Species (photos, field sketches, and/or written documentation) to the NJ Bird Records Committee at report AT njbrc.net or 14 Crown Dr, Warren NJ 07059. Good Birding and thanks for reporting.