Sightings 2019

To get a bird sighting in Sussex Co. posted on this site, receive current
sightings by email or get directions to a birding location,
contact sussexbirds@centurylink.net.

Click on photo for a larger view

9/3 Karyn Cichoki -This morning I heard an Eastern Phoebe calling out behind our house.  A trip up to Kuser Bog in High Point State Park was pretty quiet until our group came upon a group of birds feeding in the trees; Red-eyed (singing), Blue-headed & Yellow throated Vireos, Black throated Green, Prairie, American Redstart and Black & White (also singing) Warblers, female and immature or non-breeding male Scarlet Tanager and what was thought to be a Least Flycatcher were the highlights of the trip.  Also seen or heard were Downy & Northern Flicker Woodpeckers, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Turkey Vulture, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse and White-breasted Nuthatch.

8/24 Karyn CichokiThe Red-eyed Vireo continues to sing from the trees around our yard.  The past couple of days we have had a Baltimore Oriole calling and this morning there were two up in our Cherry tree.  Yesterday a mob of American Crows were chasing a Common Raven with both calling to each other.

8/18 Karyn Cichoki- Yesterday morning we had both Red-eyed and Warbling Vireos calling in the yard and this morning there are about six immature Purple Finches feeding on the Cedar berries in the yard.  Some are males as their red feathers are coming in.

8/17 Karyn Cichoki- A Red-eyed Vireo has been hanging around in the yard the past week, singing in the am.  Yesterday, the pale Brown Thrasher took a great bath in our bird bath.  This is the 3rd year we have had this particular bird in the yard.  The Great Egret joined the cattle in the farm pond on Van Sickle (not Cycle as I miss-typed in my previous post).

We were using the typical ceramic bath that you would put on a pedestal, which developed cracks over the winter.  I purchased a large plastic flower pot saucer which we are now using and the larger birds are really enjoying it as they can get down into the water.  It is about 3” deep.  We have a few flat rocks in it so the smaller birds can stand on them and take baths.

8/16  John Higgins (Walkill Valley Wildlife Refuge)- An  estimated 100 beautiful Great Egrets camped out in the crossover in the back of the liberty loop. Looked up and saw a doe with her fawns.

8/16 Andreas C. Loizides- Spotted Bald Eagle atop denuded tree-top on property between Sussex Mills Rd. and Fox Hollow Rd. from our yard. We’re set back from road; a ‘flag’ property.

8/7 Karyn Cichoki (Lafayette)- The past two weeks have been a bit quiet in the yard but we have had some interesting birds.  The past two days we have had an immature screeching Red-tailed Hawk in the trees.  The other night an immature Great Horned Owl was doing the same thing.  This morning we had a Red-eyed Vireo singing and last week a Great-crested Flycatcher was calling from our Cedar tree.  A male Red-winged Blackbird was under the feeder with its fledgling.  The family of Cedar Waxwings are still around the yard and a Great Egret has joined the Great Blue Heron at the farm pond on Van Sickle Road. The pair of Red Squirrels that have been missing from the yard for a month returned and are continuing to scold the Gray Squirrel and Chipmunks.  It is fun watching them chase each other.  I also saw a bat the other night, which is the first one that I’ve noticed in a couple of years.

7/23 Karyn Cichoki (Lafayette)- The past couple of days we have had a group of Cedar Waxwings hanging around.  I’ve seen them flying in and out of the cedars and haven’t been able to notice if they are feeding young or just adults hanging out. Today under the feeder a male Eastern Towhee.  We get them in the spring but this is the first summer he has been hanging around and still singing.

7/17 Karyn Cichoki-Lots of fledgling birds hanging out with parents early this morning – Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, Redwinged Blackbirds, Eastern Kingbirds, Song & Swamp Sparrows.  Birds also seen or heard Marsh Wren, Green & Great Blue Heron, Barn & Tree Swallow, Willow Flycatcher, Veery, Wood Thrush, American Redstart, two adult Bald Eagles, Warbling & Yellow-throated Vireo.  At the bridge I startled a female Wood Duck with at least 12 ducklings swimming in the stream.  At the back pond there were six Cedar Waxwings sitting on the Water Chestnuts, which have once again completely covered the water surface.

As I was riding my bike back from the back pond I saw something large with lots of legs that I at first thought was a huge spider (Tarantula, which I know aren’t here) but saw that it was a big Crawdad.  I’ve never seen one out of the water and this was the biggest one I’ve ever seen alive – about six inches long.  When I got near it to take a picture it showed me its claws.IMG_3306

7/12 Karyn Cichoki- The Red-bellied Woodpeckers are finally feeding babies, which is a bit late this year.  We also have young White-breasted Nuthatches trying to figure out the suet feeder.  The 2nd nest of House Wrens have fledged and the Carolina Wren started building a nest in the garage jalousie window so we cleaned out the House Wren nest that was in the Carolina Wren box in hopes they would use it instead of the window.  We discourage the nest building in the window because in previous years they abandoned it when there were eggs and young in the nest and we don’t want that happening again.

There has been a family of Eastern Kingbirds in the trees along the road in front of our house and we finally have Chimney Swifts flying overhead, which is also late this year.

We still hear the fledgling Red-tailed Hawks calling during the day and fledgling Great-horned Owls at night.

7/4 Deborah Bifulco- Lots of activity in my yard now with the stars being all the red-bellied and downy woodpecker fledglings careening all over, following parents in wild flights, and (in one case) landing on my hat.  Most of the Downy WP fledglings now seem to be self-feeding, but the Red-bellied WPs are still being fed.  There are at least 3 pairs of Red-bellies bringing youngsters around, which sometimes results in some heated dialogue, along with some very tender moments.

Both boxes of House Wrens fledged last weekend – by my best count, a total of 12 young fledged.  A second nest is already underway with 3 eggs laid as of yesterday.  And the male is advertising passionately for a second box occupant.  Gotta give him big points for effort.

The Eastern Bluebirds, who nested very late this year, are about six days from fledging.  Babies are well feathered and extremely vocal when parents bring food into the nest.  These parents are amazing hunters, sometimes bringing insects into the box at a rate of more than one per minute.  Interestingly, this is the first time I’ve ever observed nestlings being offered berries.  On at least 4 occasions, I’ve watched the female bring a bright red berry into the nest where it is received with excited peeps.  And whereas the last three years the nesting bluebirds have refused live mealworms, this pair, after some investigation, have embraced them.  Now when I take the blue mealworm feeder out, they are in it immediately and guard it until mealworms are gone.

Still hear Ovenbird and Wood thrush singing in the woods behind our house, although I’ve yet to catch a glimpse.  And I occasional hear a Hooded Warbler although it doesn’t seem to be close.  Cardinals, gray catbirds, American robins and house finches are still brining young around and, I suspect, working on next broods.

6/25 Karyn Cichoki- This past week we have had a Brown Thrasher in the yard.  I’ve also heard an Eastern Towhee, Carolina Wren & Black-billed Cuckoo calling around the house.  The Carolina Wrens have been quiet since around April and just started calling so I guess their young have fledged and we haven’t heard a Towhee calling in the summer before.

6/23 Merle and Roger Tanis- A red-bellied woodpecker mother feeding her young sunflower seeds on our deck rail provided a delightful show despite the frustration of two gray squirrels competing with her at the feeder.  The female banged the seed against the railing to remove the shell, then shoved the seed kernel down her young’s gullet.  When the squirrel chased the mother away, the young remained on the rail, and proceeded to stick out its tongue and drink water from the bird bath.  Often mother red-bellied would get the seed from the feeder, fly to the oak where the fledgling was waiting, and feed it there in a more sheltered, squirrel-free spot.

6/23 Valerie Josephson -Last summer I had a spectacular feeding or not feeding “school” on my large ash tree.  Momma red bellied woodpecker would fly to my nearby feeder, then returned to the tree where her young one clung.  She then neatly tucked the seed into the interstices of the bark and pulled back.  Young one stood there shrieking at her as in “feed me”.  She repeated the lesson three times and he/she didn’t get it.  They flew off, the young one still yelling his head off.   Ah motherhood.

6/22 Alice Piatek- I spotted a female downy feeding her youngster in the tree near our feeder

6/21 Debra Bifulco- Lots of nesting activity in my Andover Township yard this spring.

I had a big House Wren adventure when the first male (who already had two females laying eggs in two nests) got overthrown by a new male.  The new male promptly tossed all the eggs out of the nest boxes, something I’d read about but never actually observed.  He then seems to have claimed both females who immediately began laying again.  Now, I have 13 baby house wrens in two boxes, about a week from fledgling.

Meanwhile, the bluebirds were extremely late getting started.  Pretty sure this is a new male as he seemed a little uncertain about his role in the nesting process.  Female had the nest done in a record 3 days, in spite of Mister removing grass from the nest periodically.  Expect hatching this weekend.  Meanwhile, the male is a regular little Genghis Khan – he sits up in the trees and then zooms out to attack anything he doesn’t like.  A couple of days ago two male Red bellied woodpeckers were having a little spat and Mister was dive-bombing them both.  And the day before he actually took a chunk of fur out of a squirrel that apparently ticked him off.  Not sure how successful I will be in monitoring the box after the chicks hatch – we’ll see.

Currently in the yard being fed by parents:  red-bellied woodpeckers (3 pairs), downy woodpeckers (3 pairs), Tufted Titmice, house finches, and cardinals.  Fleeting glimpses of catbirds as they scurry into the shrubs, but they are keeping the babies hidden.  And three blue jays, who I’ve dubbed the Three Amigos, come flying over to me whenever I go outside, begging for peanuts.  By my best guess, they are last year’s hatch and unmated.

6/21 Donna and Don- We just happened to stop at the Owens Station Road area of the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge and had six snow geese just past the gate.

6/20 Karyn Cichoki- Here in Lafayette we have had a variety of fledglings in the yard.  Today we saw a Chipping Sparrow being followed by its baby Brown-headed Cowbird.  We have also been entertained by 3 Red Squirrels that chase the Chipmunks away from under the feeder and scold the Gray Squirrel so much that it doesn’t come near the feeder.  The Great Horned Owl chicks have fledged and you can hear the family calling back & forth

5/21 Karyn Cichoki- My husband was on Mud Cut Rd. traveling towards Route 15 when an adult Bald Eagle was flying towards him about 10 feet above the road with a small bird chasing after it.  The eagle finally flew up into a tree and the bird lost interest.  Mud Cut is just down Rte 15 from where the Paulinskill River crosses under it and I’ve seen the eagles in this area many times.  I’m assuming that they are the pair that nests at Hyper Humus.

Here at home we had a male Baltimore Oriole show up and his call sounds more like a Carolina Wren.  We also had a female American Redstart.  I’ve heard in the neighborhood calling – Great-crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird and Red-eyed Vireo.

The Purple Martins have returned to the house on Beaver Run Rd. up near the Lafayette Elementary School that has martin houses.  The colony has gotten big enough that they now have 2 poles with martin apartment houses on them and another pole with the gourd style houses on them.  Although there are also House Sparrows that are using them as well there is still plenty of space for the martins.

As I’m typing this, we have a pair of Canada Geese with four goslings walking up the driveway into the back yard.  Although we have had them flying overhead this is a first for actually being in the yard

5/17 Tommy Sudol- Not NJ, but saw 2 Cattle Egrets at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge’s Winding Waters Trail this morning, out in the open wet area east of the trail. Many shorebirds in the area as well.

5/14 Deborah Bifulco- My yard in Andover Twsp has been abuzz with birds this week.  Today I had four sparrow species – Chipping (4), Song (1), White-crowned (1) and White-throats (3).  Second time this week I’ve had a White-crowned in the yard.

Several days ago I had a male Indigo Bunting in the yard all day – what a delight.

The catbirds continue to be hugely entertaining.  I belive there are four pairs nesting in various spots around our property and they are constantly posturing and putting on shows.  Very comical to watch them.

One House Wren Nest is complete with three eggs laid as of this morning.  Typical broods are 7, so I will check the nest on the weekend to see what the count is.  A second nest is under construction with what I believe is the second female so we’ll see how that progresses.

5/12 Karyn Cichoki- On Thurs late afternoon we had a Magnolia Warbler feeding in our Cedar Tree, which was a new yard bird.

Friday we had several more White-throated Sparrows show up in the yard along with two White-crowned Sparrows and several American Redstarts.  We also had two male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds fighting over the feeder.

The male Downy Woodpecker has been getting sunflower seed from the feeder and the female Red-bellied Woodpecker has been getting seed from the ground under the feeder.

Today, Sunday the White-throats have finally left.  This is the latest in the year that they have hung around as they usually leave a week after the Dark-eyed Juncos have left, which this year was around 4/16.

5/12- Karyn Cichoki- A friend and I took a walk along the rail trail that runs along Lake Iliff behind Sheridans Restaurant.  You can access this from Lake Iliff Rd. off of either Limecrest Rd. or Newton Sparta Road.  This trail has different types of habitats along a nice flat roadbed.  We saw 56 species, which included 10 warblers. Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Wood Duck & Mallard, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Black & Turkey Vultures, either Sharp-shinned or Cooper’s Hawk, Immature Bald Eagle, Spotted Sandpiper, Mourning Dove

Woodpeckers – Red-bellied, Downy, Northern Flicker & Pileated

Great-crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Warbling & Red-eyed Vireos, Blue Jay, American Crow, Common Raven, Tree & Barn Swallows, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, House & Carolina Wrens, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Wood Thrush, American Robin, Gray Catbird, European Starling

Warblers – Blue-winged, Black & White, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Cape May, Northern Parula, Magnolia, Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Prarie

Sparrows – Chipping, Field, White-throated, Song & Swamp

Scarlet Tanager, Northern Cardinal, Baltimore Oriole, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Common Grackle and American Goldfinch.

We also saw two Beavers swimming in the Lake, several Muskrats and what we think was a Mink which was scampering around the logs in the swamp and then jumped into the water and swam away.

5/11 Blais Brancheau-While birding Friday and Saturday, had the following nice birds in the county and nearby locations:-Pied-billed Grebe, American Coot, Common Gallinule – Liberty Loop, Wallkill NWR -Ring-necked Duck – Little Swartswood Lake -White-winged Scoter – Culvers Lake (and White Lake as reported by Wade and Sharon Wander) -Black Scoter – Delaware River at Poxono boat launch -Wilson’s Snipe – Marsh behind Newton treatment plant (rail trail – access from Warbasse Junction Road) -Common Nighthawk- flying over Newton-Sparta Road -Dark-eyed Junco – across Old Mine Road from Millbrook Village parking area -Pine Siskins (flock of about a dozen birds, feeding in top of deciduous tree)- Walpack-Flatbrook Road, about 1/3 mile north of Walpack Center

5/8 Marianne Ofenloch- On Weds morning, while driving on Decker Rd between Augusta and Lafayette between errands, I was surprised to see a breeding-plumage Black-bellied Plover in a recently plowed field across the street from the Xmas tree farm fields. This species has only been seen in the county about a dozen times, the last time being in 2013 at the Liberty Marsh in Wallkill River Nat’l Wildlife Refuge. I tried to spread the word to other birders, and a few were able to see it today. The other highlight of my trip to this area was a male Orchard Oriole singing from a perch near the road. Of course, I had no camera with me to record either one…but it was wonderful to both see these birds and enjoy sunshine at the same time!

5/8 Donna and Don Traylor- It has been an interesting transition time in our yard. The last Dark-eyed Junco appears to have left – my last sighting of it was May 1 where I viewed it in the same binocular field as a Blue-winged Warbler. Up until Sunday, we still had 6 White-throated Sparrows and checking the last five years of yard notes, I see that our last White-throats disappeared by May 5-6. Today I had two White-throats picking seed off the ground. Surprisingly, there has been a group of 13 Blue Jays daily for the last week or so. We have had large numbers throughout the winter but I would have anticipated that they would have dispersed by now. This week we have also noted: male and female Eastern Towhees, two male and one female Rose-breasted Grosbeak, two male and one female Wood Duck, a male and female Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Swamp, Field and Song Sparrows, Common Yellowthroat, Blue-winged Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Ovenbird, Great-crested Flycatcher, a Baltimore Oriole pretending to be a hummingbird at the feeders, and a Barred Owl calling close by this morning.

5/7 Jeff Crawn- Got these yesterday in stokes state forest. First male Black-throated Blue Warbler I’ve seen in 5yrs. Plus Hooded, American Redstart, Red-eyed Vireo & Gray Catbird. Also heard 4 Barred Owls going crazy. Saw one fly from a high tree top. No pictures.

5/5 Marianne Ofenloch- A small flock of Ruddy Ducks were at Culvers Lake around 5:30 pm yesterday (May 5th). The numbers of Bufflehead were much reduced (there had been 53 on Friday but only 10 yesterday) and 3 Spotted Sandpipers were very active at the clubhouse boat docks. I then went to Swartswood SP to seek a small flock of White-winged Scoters found earlier in the day by member Bradley White. They were still there, in the center of the northern half of the lake, along with 3 Ring-necked Ducks, a drake Bufflehead, a small raft of Common Loons, and a single Red-throated Loon that is transitioning into breeding plumage. Note: CR619 was closed between the park’s public boat launch and Dove Island Rd, so you have to either take Dove Island Rd from CR622 to get to Hendershot’s Point, or use CR521 and go all the way around the lake to get there.

5/5 Alice Piatek- In the yard and at the feeder this afternoon on 5/5, we saw for the first time ever, that we know of, a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak.  Other visitors included Mourning Doves, Chipping Sparrows, White-breasted Sparrows, Northern Cardinals.

5/4 Karyn Cichoki- I left Lafayette for Millbrook Village in misty rain this morning hoping that the rain would stop for a while and that maybe someone would show up.  I took Rte 206 north and got off onto Struble Rd. headed through Tillman Ravine to Wallpack Village where I then proceeded onto Walpack Flatbrook Rd. and then Old Mine Road to Millbrook Village.  As I expected there were no participants so I decided to bird the area via car down Old Mine Rd. to Watergate and the Powerline and then back to Village and then Crater Lake and then reversed the route back home.

I managed to see or hear 58 species along the entire route and had 31 in the planned trip route.

Mallard, Wild Turkey, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Adult Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Mourning Dove

Woodpeckers – Red-bellied, Downy, Northern Flicker, Pileated

Least Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Warbling & Red-eyed Vireos, Blue Jay, American Crow, Tree Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch,

House & Carolina Wrens, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Veery, Wood Thrush, American Robin, Gray Catbird, European Starling

Warblers – Ovenbird, Blue-winged, Black & White, Common Yellowthroat, Hooded, American Redstart, Cerulean, Northern Parula, Yellow, Pine, Yellow-rumped, Prairie, Black-throated Green

Sparrows – Chipping, Field, White-crowned, White-throated, Song

Dark-eyed Junco, Eastern Towhee, Scarlet Tanager, Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Common Grackle, American Goldfinch

The highlights of the trip was stopping on Wallpack Flatbrook Rd to make sure a Box Turtle finished crossing the road, a Bobcat crossing Old Mine Rd. just past the power lines near Watergate, an Osprey at the small Watergate pond east of the parking lot, the Bald Eagle near the power lines & Old Mine Rd. and another Osprey at Lake Ashroe on Struble Rd.

All in all a pretty good day and I’m happy I didn’t sit home, which the rain away.

FYI – I spoke to a park employee who was driving around and asked about the possibility of the section of Old Mine Rd. between Millbrook Village and the Flatbrook being fixed.  He said that the repaving of Old Mine Rd. from Worthington State Park to Walpack Flatbrook Rd. is scheduled to be done this summer.  He said that while it is being paved it will be a one lane road and hopefully that will mean that they will be doing it in sections and not the whole thing at one time.

5/3 Jeff Crawn- Also got this Osprey grabbing a fish at thunder mountain.

5/3 Jeff Crawn (Sunrise Mtn)- Yesterday on Sunrise Mountain Rd I got my first ever Worm-eating Warbler as well as Black-throated Green, Black&White, and Hooded Warblers. Also my first decent shots of a Hairy Woodpecker.

5/3 Marianne Ofenloch (Montague)- Had some nice returning birds at Hainesville WMA yesterday – Least Flycatcher, Warbling & Yellow-throated Vireos, Ovenbird, Northern Parula, and a gorgeous breeding-plumage male Cape May Warbler among at least 2 dozen Yellow-rumped Warblers. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are drinking from flowers there, as well as in my yard; this morning, a female hummer was sharing the bounty in a crabapple tree with an insect-gleaning Nashville Warbler. A singing Northern Parula and a pair of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks arrived in the yard yesterday, and Baltimore Orioles are singing everywhere. The Eastern Bluebirds seem to be holding onto their claim at the bluebird box, though a pair of House Sparrows and at least 1 pair of House Wrens challenge them intermittently. Can’t wait for more species to arrive — welcome spring!

5/3 Jill Bainbridge- First Ruby-throated Hummingbird at feeder, May1.  First Baltimore Oriole at hummingbird and sunflower seed feeders today; also Indigo Bunting and Rose-breasted Grosbeak today.

5/3 Karyn Cichoki- Today we had our first male Ruby-throated Hummingbird show up at our feeder.  Yesterday we had a singing Brown Thrasher at the top of our neighbor’s Cedar Tree.  It started to sing and then the Gray Catbird joined in, which was nice to hear both singing at the same time to hear the difference in their calls.  We had a male Purple Finch at the feeder and the White-crowned Sparrow is still hanging around.

5/3 Karyn Cichoki-On April 29, I had an adult Bald Eagle fly up from the Paulinskill where it goes under Beaver Run Road.

Today (April 30) we had a White-crowned Sparrow feeding with the White-throated & Chipping Sparrows.  A Pine Siskin managed to find space on the thistle feeder amongst the male American Goldfinches.

Tonight at the main branch of the Sussex Library I heard a Warbling Vireo singing

5/2 Terry and Lee McQuillen (Culver Lake)

This week at Culver Lake:

Our Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds are back now for several days.

On the lake saw the Wood Duck, Common Loon, Mute Swans, Great Blue Herons, Buffleheads, Canada Geese and Double-crested Cormorants

Lots of American Goldfinch, House and Purple Finches, and White-breasted Nuthatch

Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays, Common Grackles, and Red-winged Blackbirds

Bald Eagles, both juvenile and mature, Turkey Vultures and Osprey

And today for the first time we’ve seen here… Rose-breasted Grosbeak

5/1 Russ Edwards- Today in Wawayanda State Park: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Black & White Warbler

4/29 Alice Piatek- Three Red-Winged Blackbirds visited our backyard which has never occurred before to our knowledge.  One American Tree Sparrow visited as well as Northern Cardinals, White-throated Sparrows, Mourning Doves, White-breasted Nuthatches and American Robins.

4/25 Marianne Ofenloch-A male Ruby-throated Hummingbird showed up in my yard on April 25th, which is the earliest date ever for my yard.

4/23 Karyn Cichoki- A House Wren showed up in the yard today (Tues), singing away.  It reminded me that I hadn’t cleaned out the wren boxes, which I promptly did.  It is amazing how much stuff they can cram into those small boxes.

We now have a pair of Gray Catbirds in the yard and still have a pair of Purple Finches.  They Swamp Sparrows are singing from the swampy area down the street from the house.

4/21 Karyn Cichoki (Sussex)-I took a ride around the area this morning –

Roy Road, Wantage – 2 Eastern Meadowlarks calling from trees on both sides of the road.  There were 2 male American Kestrels that were sitting either on the wire or in a tree near the nest boxes.

Fenwick Rd, Frankford – Gray Catbird

Van Sickle Rd., Lafayette – Swamp and Field Sparrow

Home – male Eastern Towhee.  Our local Cottontail Rabbit has decided it likes the mixed seed that I throw out for the ground feeding birds and even comes up on our back step to get the seed

4/21 Marianne Ofenloch: Took a morning birding break to greet some newly arrived migrants in Stokes State Forest and surrounding areas. Sightings included a group of at least five Louisiana Waterthrushes that were singing, calling, and chasing each other over a small creek; a male American Redstart and a male Northern Parula singing on their territories; three Blue-headed Vireos, only one of which was singing; and a few Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. The House Wren returned to the yard yesterday and has been singing nonstop as it works on building a nest. When I got home from my morning jaunt today, there were five pairs of Purple Finches feeding with over a dozen American Goldfinches and other birds, making the yard both the most colorful and the most musical birding site in the area today.

4/20 Karyn Cichoki: It seems that spring migration is moving along a bit early this year with reports on E-bird of a variety of warbler sightings.  The Dark-eyed Juncos left the yard over the past weekend.  We have more White-throated Sparrows in the yard than we had during the winter so they must be migrating through.  The yard is full of their song.  The local Northern Mockingbird has been singing, which is very nice to hear again.

The winter American Goldfinches left last week and for a few days we had none in the yard until the birds in full breeding plumage showed up and have been feasting at the feeders.

A week ago Friday I heard the first Chipping Sparrow singing but didn’t see one until last Tuesday and late yesterday afternoon we had a whole flock fly into the yard and were feeding on the front lawn. You could barely see them because the grass has grown so tall already.

Over the weekend we had about 5 male and 3 female Purple Finches but only have 1 pair left.  Thursday I heard a Field Sparrow singing from across the road.This morning I heard what I thought was a Gray Catbird calling, but thought maybe it might be the Brown Thrasher as they usually show up before the Catbirds.  I finally found it and it was the Catbird, which in past years hasn’t shown up in the yard until mid-May.

4/19 (Youngs Island Rd, Allamuchy) Charlie Fineran had over the week: a resident Red-tailed Hawk along with multiple American Kestrel sightings.  He also sighted a Peregrine Falcon on top of a telephone pole perched.  Other raptor species included Black and Turkey Vultures.  Some Mallards were in Little Pond, and Barn Swallows were spotted flying into his shed.  There were several nests in the shed.

4/15 (Swartswood Lake) Tony Sudol  had 2 Caspian Terns circling Swartswood Lake Monday morning before 8:00 viewed from Hendershot Point.

4/10 Allison Orsi had at least 4 Palm Warblers catching bugs and a Pine Warbler in the trees.

3/30 (Wallkill River NWR) Marianne Ofenloch-Two Sandhill Cranes were seen by a NY birder this morning; the birds were flying from the NY farms north of Oil City Rd into the Sussex marshes of the Liberty Loop area in Wallkill River Nat’l Wildlife Refuge. The Liberty Loop trail is still closed due to damage from flooding and muskrats, but the viewing platform on the NY side of the marsh is open, and the south pool can still be viewed from the trail on the east side of the pool (accessible from Owens Station Rd).

3/29 Wade Wander had a gray-phase Eastern Screech Owl in the same hole (in Fredon Twp.) where a red-phase bird sat for its portrait on March 8.SCOW1

3/25 (Culver Lake) Fred Weber had 6 Long-tailed Ducks, and 11 Horned Grebes

3/23 (Allamuch-Mucklands) Charlie Fineran – Couple of weeks ago before snow had melted and including up until after snow had melted – several small wedges and gaggles of both Snow Geese and Canada Geese in the flooded fields.  Just off  Youngs Island Rd. there was an area where a small number of Snow Geese, Canada Geese and Mallards were all sharing the same flooded field.  Was a pretty noisy time!!!

Been seeing a lot of my resident Red-tailed Hawk, perched along the road on the power poles, and in various trees in this area, waiting for a meal.

Observed a couple of American Kestrels on the telephone wires along the road.

As always plenty of vultures flying overhead, perched in trees and occasionally on the ground.

Last evening around 5:45PM was watching a Northern Harrier work the tall brush farm fields, slowing in flight then bobbing up and down through the brush.  By the time I got my camera ready he was in the far end of the field and then the sun was interfering with my photo efforts.  Fun to watch!!

Tried to visit the Pequest Great Blue Heron Rookery last week, but didn’t have any ribbon markers to mark my way in so I could easily get back out, so I will revisit soon – DISTURBING OBSERVATION!!!  My other visits this time of year have always had them on the nests with lots always flying and circling overhead!!  Did not see or hear one!!!!

Have also had several large flocks of European Starlings and Red-winged Blackbirds out in the fields and in the surrounding trees.

Have not noticed any Barn Swallows dashing about the fields yet, I will check our small abandoned sheds to see if any on their nests.

3/23 (Hyper Humus) Susan Predl had some Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, Ring-necked Ducks, Bufflehead, and Green-winged Teal.

3/19 Marianne Ofenloch  (Montague) You know it’s spring when even the hinterland of Montague has sunshine, spring activity among the wildlife, and newly arriving birds!  The lawn was full of foraging American Robins last week, the numbers of Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles have been on the rise, and more male American Goldfinches are displaying patches of bright yellow plumage and pure black on their heads. The Gray and Red Squirrels are chasing each other again, but thankfully have not yet seen the striped rats (Eastern Chipmunks). The snowdrops have formed buds that have yet to open; this might be one of the few years in which the snow has melted before they bloomed. Saw an Eastern Phoebe at Hainesville Wildlife Mgmt Area yesterday, and was thrilled to hear one singing in the yard a few minutes ago. Each day is sure to have more color and sound as the season progresses. Happy spring!

3/16 Alice Piatek  had 3 red-shouldered hawks circling above her home.  In flight, the upper under portion was red and the tail was clearly banded.

3/15 Sue Predl had her first peenting American Woodcock on Wednesday evening at home and again this morning at dawn. Heard some spring peepers at Hyper Humus. And I came home today to find a Pine Warbler singing in my backyard (Warren County).

3/12 Bradley White had a drake Red-breasted Merganser on the river by the Dingmans Bridge

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 https://merrillcreek.com/

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.