Sightings 2019

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3/9 (Wawayanda State Park) Russ Edwards had 3 male Red-winged Blackbirds during the afternoon.

3/9 (Hyper Humus) Sue Predl had a Northern Harrier during the evening.

3/8 Wade and Sharon Wander had a red phase Eastern Screech-Owl in a hole in a dead tree in Fredon Township off and on (mostly off ) for more than 1 year. Today (March 8) it was perched in the opening catching a few rays. Note how it perches on the bottom rim of the hole.SCOW

3/8 (Wawayanda State Park) Russell Edwards had a Rough-legged Hawk and a Belted Kingfisher perched about 25 yards apart.

3/5 Karyn Cichoki had 2 immature Bald Eagles perched at the SCMUA and an adult Bald Eagle and a Turkey Vulture soaring above the dump.  One if the immature eagles, perched near the dump entrance, was being mobbed by 2 Common Ravens.

3/4 Lee and Terry McQuillin saw lots of gull and Bald Eagle activity on Culvers Lake. The fishermen left early and the birds came for their treats. All the eagles we have seen today have been juveniles. At one point we had six at one time on the ice and/or chasing each other.

3/2 Wade and Sharon Wanderheard some crows about 6:45, they werer mobbing a Barred Owl which then flew down from a hidden perch onto the ground at the base of a Sassafras tree where they have several feeders. The bird stayed around for about 15 minutes making a few feeble attempts to catch some small birds. Attached are 2 photos taken through a glass door.

3/2  Lee & Terry McQuillin saw watched three Bald Eagles fighting on the Culvers Lake before flying into the woods— 2 adults and 1 immature. The ice fishermen are still out on Culvers Lakeand they were probably  fighting over scraps the fishermen leave.

Later in the day an adult flew past the upstairs window at eye level, and a Cooper’s Hawk perched for quite some time on a tree branch outside the same window which gave them a great view of it.s a great view of it.

2/24 Marianne Ofenloch- A Boreal Chickadee was found and photographed at the feeders at the Merrill Creek visitor’s center on Saturday by a visitor to the area; it was reportedly still there this morning. The VC & parking lot gates are open from 10-4 on weekends and 8:30-4:30 on weekdays. More info on the site can be found at

This is the first confirmed sighting of a Boreal Chickadee in NJ since the 1980’s. Other rare birds of interest being seen this weekend at that reservoir include a Barrow’s Goldeneye hen, at least one Ross’s Goose, and a Long-tailed Duck hen.

Numerous adult and immature Bald Eagles were soaring above several sites in Montague Township yesterday. Common Ravens were playing in the winds above Steenykill Lake in High Point State Park. A drake Green-winged Teal was at Hainesville WMA. Thousands of Canada Geese continue in the open water at Owens Station (Wallkill River Nat’l Wildlife Refuge), along with a drake Greater Scaup, a drake Lesser Scaup, and many Ring-necked Ducks and Common Mergansers. Hundreds of ducks were landing after sunset in the Sussex marshes at the Liberty Loop (Wallkill River NWR.

2/17 Alice Piatek had 2 adult Bald Eagles and 1 Red-tailed Hawk flying over Berkshire Valley and Chamberlain Rds. in Jefferson.

2/16 (Spruce Run & Round Valley Reservoirs) Alice Piatek had Canvasback-approx. 20; Common Mergansers; Lesser Scaups; American Wigeon – 3; American Black Ducks; Buffleheads; Ring-necked Ducks; Mallards; Red-tailed Hawk; Red-shouldered Hawk; Black Vultures; Turkey Vultures; Great Black-backed Gulls; Lesser Black-backed Gulls; Ring-billed Gulls; Herring Gulls; Laughing Gulls; Song Sparrows;  Dark -eyed Juncos; American Robins; Red-winged Blackbirds; Carolina Wren.

2/14 Marianne Ofenloch (Wallkill River NWR) A Ross’s Goose was found on Thursday afternoon in the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge at the Owens Station Road pond. It might have been the same bird that was seen on Thursday morning in Orange County, NY, as the flocks of waterfowl tend to move around the area throughout the day. At least one Cackling Goose and a drake Greater Scaup (not yet in full breeding plumage) have also been visiting that pond over the last 2 weeks, along with Northern Pintails, American Wigeons, Ring-necked Ducks, Common Mergansers, and other waterfowl.

2/8 Alice Piatek had a Bald Eagle in a tree in front of her home.

2/8 (Culver Lake) Terry and Lee McQuillan had 7 Bald Eagles on Culver Lake right now – 6 immature and one adult. The adult pair and local juveniles have been out there most days; and there’s also been a third year with some regularity.  Fisherman have been leaving scraps on the ice for them.

2/1 Charlie Fineran had a Peregrine Falcon near his house off Youngs Island Rd. in Allamuchy.  A year back, there was one at the same location.

1/27 (Mongaup Valley WMA) Lori Krieger was up at the Mongaup Falls Eagle Blind and the volunteer group there had spotted 53 eagles for the day at the blind.

1/27 Bill Warren had a Sora on the other side of the bridge at Hyper Humus; it stayed for a few minutes and flew upstream.

1/22 Marianne Ofenloch (Montague)- The snow & ice led to an expected increase in activity among the yard birds. After having less than a dozen each of White-throated Sparrows & Dark-eyed Juncos pre-storm, it was fun to watch their numbers increase to a maximum of 33 and 18 respectively. One American Tree Sparrow, a species that’s been harder to find in the county this winter, has also been making daily visits since it snowed. Unfortunately, some European Starlings have also made themselves at home, but Purple Finches (usually a regular every winter but not seen here since Nov.) and Red-breasted Nuthatch (not seen since Dec.) seem to have disappeared. A flock of 14 Wild Turkeys were feeding &/or getting gravel for their gizzards on the Montague portion of Old Mine Road late this afternoon.

1/22 Donna and Don Traylor had a a European Starling and Brown-headed Cowbird in their yard on Sunday and on Monday, they had an American Tree Sparrow, shortly followed by a Common Redpoll that was hanging out with a small flock of American Goldfinches. A little later a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker came by and had to compete with a Red-bellied Woodpecker at one of the feeders. The Redpoll has returned with the Goldfinch this morning.

1/21 Alice Piatek had 2 White-Breasted Nuthatches; 2 American Goldfinches; 2 House Finches; 6 White-Throated Sparrows; 6-7 House Sparrows; 1 Downy Woodpecker; 1 Hairy Woodpecker; 1 Red-Bellied Woodpecker; 1 Tufted Titmouse ; 1 Black-Capped Chickadee; 3 Blue Jays; 4 Northern Cardinals; and 8 Dark-Eyed Juncos at her feeder in Oak Ridge.

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.

1/11 Fred Weber (Liberty Loop) had a distant Rough-legged Hawk, 2 closer Harriers, 2 Red-tails, a perched Bald Eagle and a Kingfisher at the south end of Liberty Loop .  Then at dusk one Short-eared Owl.

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 WMA) 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 NWR) Karyn Cichoki reports that the Say’s 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) Tommy 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.