Sightings 2019

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1/13 Marianne Ofenloch- As far as I know, the last sightings of the Say’s Phoebe at Wallkill River NWR were on Jan 4th, and the last sightings of the Black Phoebe at Hainesville WMA were on Jan 8th. The freezing of most shallow, still water might have driven both birds elsewhere. A few birders, myself included, were checking Hainesville yesterday, and while we didn’t see the Black Phoebe, we did see a huge (at least 100 birds) and very active flock of Cedar Waxwings, as well as a Gray Catbird and a small flock of 17 Common Redpolls that briefly mingled with the waxwings before flying out of view to the northwest. The Red-breasted Merganser is still at Culvers Lake, which is beginning to freeze again, and a Short-eared Owl was active around sunset over the Sussex Co. marshes at the Liberty Loop in Wallkill.


1/10 Fred Weber had an immature Iceland Gull on Culver Lake.  The large gull flock was over by north shore but in good light viewed from west shore access.

1/9 Fred Weber had a second winter Glaucous Gull and 4 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls on  Culver Lake at about  4 PM.  They were close to west shore in sunlight.

1/7 Marianne Ofenloch- The Black Phoebe was still being seen today at Hainesville WMA, but as of about sunset this afternoon, most of the open water now has a thin covering of ice. Will try to check if it’s still there tomorrow for everyone (that is, if the roads aren’t bad). The last reported sighting of the Say’s Phoebe at Wallkill River NWR seems to have been Friday late afternoon…around the same time the Black Phoebe was found. Weird.

A hen Barrow’s Goldeneye was reported over the weekend in the company of a small flock of Common Goldeneyes. The flock has been working the Delaware River in Warren County between Turtle Beach in the Delaware Water Gap Nat’l Recreation Area and the Worthington State Forest office area. I was blessed to view it today from the campground road north of the park office, along with an apparently aberrant/unusual hen Common Goldeneye that has an all-yellow bill. Her head is a lighter shade of brown and has a more sloped forehead than the Barrow’s hen. Also seen along the campground road: a Winter Wren in one of the small but full drainage paths that leads to the river, and a male Ruby-crowned Kinglet whose red crown flashed as it fed in the berry brambles. If you go to look for the duck, note that Old Mine Road is closed at the northern border of Worthington SF, so you can’t drive directly on it from Turtle Beach to Worthington (or vice-versa) but instead have to use the last NJ exit on Rt. 80 west to get to Worthington.

1/6 (Hainsville WMR) Donna Traylor and several other birders report that the Black Pheobe continues in the same area.

1/5 (Hainesville WMA) Allison Orsi reports that the Black Pheobe continues at the Hainsville WMA in Montague.  It was spotted in several different spots in the area of the dam and the road to the dam.

1/5 (Wallkill River WMA) Karyn Cichoki reports that the Say’ Pheobe continues; she spotted it about 50 yds from the trail, and it was seen by several people present

1/4 (Hainesville WMA) Scott Angus found & photographed a Black Phoebe late Friday afternoon at Hainesville WMA; some of his photos are attached. It was very active, flycatching and calling frequently as it hunted on the site, primarily near and around the dam and the lake outflow. This is the first time this species has been seen in Sussex County, and it appears to be a first record for the state of NJ as well. There is also no record on eBird of this species being seen east of the Mississippi River. An amazing find, to be sure! If you plan on going to the WMA, note that parking is limited to 2 small dirt lots and 1 road pulloff; the lots and the access roads will be muddy if it rains, there are often ticks in the grasses, and the traffic on the main road is often moving well above the speed limit so be careful if you walk on that road.

1/3  (Wallkill River NWR) Tony Sudol saw a Say’s Phoebe this morning at about 9:20 at Winding Waters Trail. The bird was east of the trail, out in the marsh near a “flood control” sign that had some red graffiti.

1/3 Bob Cappuccio had a large number of Snow Geese while driving on Rt. 22 several miles west of Easton, PA.  He estimated the number of geese to be in the thousands.

1/2 Marianne Ofenloch saw an immature Glaucous Gull at the county dump (SCMUA). A Cackling Goose was found at Waterwheel Farm in Fredon on Jan 1st; it was still there yesterday, along with a long-staying Snow Goose, a handful of Killdeer, and a pair of Northern Shovelers.