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1/14/21 – Wallkill River Nat’l Wildlife Refuge (Mike Tracy) – I took a walk at the Liberty Loop; saw a few Northern Harriers and a few Red-shouldered Hawks including a young bird that is very photo friendly; also saw a Rough-legged Hawk. Was a bit surprised to find an Eastern Phoebe in the section where the trail passes through the area with trees on both sides; it stayed high up in the trees.
1/14/21 – Newton; Lafayette & Frankford Twps (Karyn Cichocki) – Mourning Doves – although not uncommon birds, I’ve been seeing large flocks of them. Today, there were at least 100 on the high tension wires across from Kohls in Newton; last week, between 30-40 on the wires near the intersection of Warbasse Junction Rd. & Rt. 94 on two days that I went by there. Common Grackles – today, there was a flock of probably 1,000 birds feeding in the corn field on Augusta Hill Rd. just south of Rt. 206 in Augusta. Here at home in Lafayette, we had a Cooper’s Hawk come into the yard that was hopping around on the ground around the feeder and in the bushes around the feeder. There have been several times this past week when there was not a bird in sight nor were any chattering, so I figured something was around but didn’t spot anything up in the trees.
1/12/21 – SCMUA, Lafayette Twp (Fred Weber) – Immature Glaucous Gull (after almost 2 hours of looking) and adult Lesser Black-backed Gull. (Please follow guidelines for birding at SCMUA as posted elsewhere on this website.)
1/12/21 – Fredon Twp (Sharon & Wade Wander) – The red phase Eastern Screech-Owl is back in the tree cavity in Fredon Township that it occupied last year. Once or twice last year we saw a gray phase bird in the same cavity. We see or hear Red-shouldered Hawks from our yard in Fredon Township almost daily. For many years a pair nested in the forest fragment next to our house. After this photo was taken of one adult we woke the next morning to two sitting side-by-side in a large Sugar Maple about 70 feet from our front door.
1/12/21 – Montague Twp (Marianne Ofenloch) – Over the past week, the number of yard birds seems to have been decreasing, esp. in the afternoon. There’s no shortage of White-throated Sparrows or Black-capped Chickadees, but Dark-eyed Juncos and the various finches have been sparse at best. I thought perhaps the neighbor’s marauding cat could be the main reason, but over the last 2 days, an adult Cooper’s Hawk has been making attack runs in the yard in the late afternoon. A look out the window one minute yields the regulars feeding, and then a subsequent look is into an empty or near-empty yard, sometimes with a bird frozen in place on a branch. Within a few minutes — zoom! The raptor either speeds after a passerine or perches in the garden on the remains of a snapped young tree to survey the vegetation. Its eyes are too sharp for me to get a photo; even if I reach for the camera slowly, it notices and heads into the trees. Haven’t seen it succeed at a hunt yet, but it’s surely only a matter of time.
1/10/21 – Search for Eagles trip (Jack Padalino leader) – It was a pleasant sunny day that began with watching feeder birds including Hairy Woodpeckers, Dark-eyed Junco, Blue Jays, and Pileated Woodpecker among others. 16 participants, wearing face covering and social distancing logged 151 miles in the Delaware Water Gap Nat’l Rec. Area and Upper Delaware Scenic River from PEEC to the Bushkill Access and the trip’s conclusion at the headwaters of the Lackawaxen River. 31 species of birdswere seen, including 24 Bald Eagles (BE), 8 Red-tailed Hawks, 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk, and 3 Common Ravens.
1/5/21 – Oak Ridge (Alice Piatek & Alan Gutmore) – For more than 3 weeks, we have had only a few of our usual visitors occasionally at our feeders: Dark-eyed Juncos, Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Northern Cardinals, White-throated Sparrows, White-breasted Nuthatches, woodpeckers, Blue Jays. We have 2 mixed seed feeders including black-oil sunflower seeds, suet, and thistle. Is anyone in the club experiencing a decrease in feeder visitors? Could there be a hawk in the area for more than 3 weeks? Could it be a cat? We do have occasional paw prints seen in the snow. Could it be environmental and habitat degradation? I have read that common species have been observed on the decline. We are concerned. It is very eerily quiet out there. It’s unsettling.
1/1/2021 – Frankford Twp (Don & Donna Traylor) – Great Horned Owl calling at 12:20 am; 14 more yard birds added to the growing yearly list including 20 Mourning Doves, 12 American Goldfinch, 15 House Finches, numerous Dark-eyed Juncos, Red-tailed Hawk, White-breasted Nuthatch, Downy & Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Northern Flicker, & Black-capped Chickadee (plus our mink in the stream). Swartswood Lake: American Wigeon, Ring-necked duck, scaup sp., Mallard, Common Merganser, Hooded Merganser, American Black Duck, Ruddy Duck, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, White-throated & Song Sparrows, Eastern Bluebirds, & a calling Red-shouldered Hawk. A mature Bald Eagle was at Little Swartswood and an immature at Swartswood. Culvers Lake: added Pied-billed Grebe & Mute Swan. Roy Road in Wantage: Common Grackle, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Red-shouldered Hawk. We finished the first day of the year with 41 species.