This is Scott Barnes with the Voice of New Jersey Audubon for Thursday December 27, 2013 with announcements, reports of "Black" BRANT, TRUMPETER SWAN, WESTERN GREBE, AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN, ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, SNOWY OWL, and seasonal/local reports of interest.
Several Christmas Bird Counts were held this week; highlights follow.
The Hackensack-Ridgewood CBC Dec 14 totaled 85 species including COMMON LOON, AMERICAN WOODCOCK, 40 BALD EAGLES, 3 MERLINS and LAPLAND LONGSPUR.
The Walnut Valley (Blairstown) CBC Dec 21 recorded 92 species including 5 TUNDRA SWANS, LONG-TAILED DUCK, 2 RUFFED GROUSE, GOLDEN EAGLE, 10 RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS, 11 COMMON RAVENS, 4 EASTERN PHOEBES, SNOW BUNTING, LAPLAND LONGSPUR, and RUSTY BLACKBIRD.
The Lakehurst CBC Dec 21 tallied 102 species including Greater White-fronted Goose in Lakewood, 2 RED-NECKED GREBES, LAUGHING GULL, an ICELAND GULL at Point Pleasant Beach, and a SNOWY OWL at Middle Sedge Island in Lavallette.
The Boonton CBC Dec 22 found 97 species with a record-breaking total of 46 RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS (the majority at Troy Meadows); other highlights included REDHEAD in West Essex, 6 LONG-EARED OWLS, 3 MERLINS, 4 COMMON RAVENS, HOUSE WREN, 128 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS, and 5 PURPLE FINCHES.
The Moorestown CBC Dec 22 totaled 105 species including a count-first WESTERN GREBE at Hawk Island in the Delaware River at Delanco, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE along the Cooper River near Park Blvd, WHITE-WINGED SCOTER at Lakes Preserve, GLAUCOUS GULL and BARN OWL along Rancocas Creek, BARRED OWL, EASTERN PHOEBE, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER at Palmyra Cove, and LINCOLN'S SPARROW in Medford.
At Wallkill River NWR's Liberty Loop area, ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK and 7+ SHORT-EARED OWLS were observed Dec 22. A BARN OWL was also observed on the refuge this week.
Reports from the NJ Meadowlands area this week were of up to 11 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS (3 light-morph and 8 dark-morph) along Disposal Rd near the DeKorte Environment Center and at Mill Creek Point, single ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS were found Dec 21 at Mill Creek Marsh and along the Transco Trail at DeKorte.
A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was noted near "the dance floor" at Lord Stirling Park Dec 23. At nearby Great Swamp NWR a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE and CACKLING GOOSE were noted from the Pleasant Plains Rd overlook Dec 25.
A ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was found along Rattlesnake Bridge Rd in Bedminster Dec 19.
An ICELAND GULL and LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL were sighted along Homestead Rd in Hillsborough Twp Dec 20.
A late BLUE-HEADED VIREO was photographed at South Branch WMA Dec 25.
Six SANDHILL CRANES continued this week in Franklin Twp, Somerset County through Dec 21; the birds are generally seen early/late in the date somewhere around Randolph Rd.
Sandy Hook sightings this week included a SNOWY OWL Dec 24 and the NASHVILLE WARBLER and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT continued at the salt pond through Nov 20; a flock of 200 SNOW BUNTINGS continues around lots C & D this week.
A large sea duck flock continues this week off the Monmouth Beach Cultural Center, including 1000+ SURF SCOTERS and BLACK SCOTERS, plus dozens of WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, 4,000 LONG-TAILED DUCKS, and 3 immature male KING EIDERS through Dec 20.
A SHORT-EARED OWL was noted at Wolf Hill Park in Oceanport Dec 25.
Other North Shore reports this week were of a "BLACK" BRANT along Riverside Drive at Shark River Estuary Dec 22, an AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN over Fisherman's Cove in Manasquan Dec 20, a first-cycle ICELAND GULL at Wreck Pond Dec 26, and a SNOWY OWL along Ocean Ave in Belmar Dec 21.
Three juvenile TRUMPETER SWANS of unknown provenance continued this week at Lake Assunpink through Dec 25. Whether or not these birds are progeny of the burgeoning reintroduction program in Canada is unknown.
A SNOWY OWL was found at Island Beach State Park Dec 21, seen in the dunes near the nature center.
At least 2 SNOWY OWLS continue this week through Dec 22 at Forsythe (Brigantine) NWR, seen along the south dike. At nearby Brigantine Island 3 AMERICAN BITTERNS were noted the same day.
Floodgates in Gloucester County had 121 TUNDRA SWANS Dec 21.
If you are a frequent reader of the VONJA, please consider joining New Jersey Audubon. You can find out more about membership by calling 908-204-8998 or visiting http://www.njaudubon.org/SectionAboutNJAS/JoinNJAudubon.aspx
Visit the New Jersey Audubon eBird portal for feature articles, announcements, and to submit your bird sightings: http://ebird.org/content/nj
Check out the "All Things Birds" blog http://www.njaudubon.org/SectionCenters/SectionAllThingsBirds/AllThingsBirdsBlog.aspx
The New Jersey Young Birders Club's next field trip is scheduled for January 11 at Sandy Hook and the "northern north shore," where we'll look for sea ducks, loons, grebes, gulls, and seabirds. This trip is designed for young birders and their parent(s)/guardian and is free, but pre-registration is required: contact firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up. For more information about the club see http://njyoungbirders.weebly.com
An eight-hour "inshore" pelagic is scheduled from Belmar is scheduled for Jan 1, searching for Razorbill, Common Murre, other alcids, and gulls. For more information go to http://www.paulagics.com or call 215-234-6805.
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 13 Strawberry Lane, Cape May NJ 00824. Good Birding and thanks for reporting.