Sightings 2022

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11/20/22 Lafayette sightings (pic) – Karyn Cichocki

Today, 11/20 at just about dusk, I noticed a female Purple Finch at the base of the Cedar tree in the front yard.  There is a suet feeder in that tree so either she picked up something that had fallen from it or was eating some other kind of seed.  We have been inundated with Black-capped Chickadees with visual sighting of at least six individuals but there probably are more.  We also have at least 4 White-breasted Nuthatches and 5 Tufted Titmice.  As for the American Goldfinches their numbers fluctuate from one or two to a feeder filled with them.  We also have increasing numbers of White-throated Sparrows but as for Dark-eyed Juncos we will see 2 or 3 one day and then none for several days. 

Sussex Birding – Karyn Cichocki (pics)

Today, 11/27 I visited various ponds and lakes in Sussex County and had a pretty good day despite the rain.

   Pond at the Homestead – Canada Geese & lone Greater White-fronted Goose

   Culver Lake – Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Mallard, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Gadwall, Blue-winged Teal, American Black Duck, Hooded Merganser and Common Goldeneye, American Wigeon, huge raft of Ring-billed Gulls
   Swartswood Lake – Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Mallard, Bufflehead, American Wigeon, Pied-billed Grebe, Gadwall, American Coot
   Lake Kemwah – Bufflehead, Ring-billed Gull

Other birds of note, 36 Mourning Doves on the wires on Pigeon Hill Rd., male Wild Turkey on Rte 521 near Lake Owassa, Great Blue Heron with a frog and Belted Kingfisher on Pines Pond in Branchville.  Here at home M/F Brown-headed Cowbird, Fox Sparrow, American Robin and a pair of American Black Ducks on the farm pond just down the road.

8/21 – 8/29/22 – Fredon Twp
– 4 Sandhill Cranes were seen feeding in a field off SR94 near Newton Hospital by both SCBC members & nonmembers.

7/31/22 – Lafayette Twp (Karyn Cichocki) – had small flock of immature Brown-headed Cowbirds, Common Grackle, 3 immature Downy Woodpeckers, 1 immature Red-bellied Woodpecker, Song Sparrows, Eastern Kingbirds, Eastern Bluebird, and Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

7/21/22 – Lafayette Twp (Karyn Cichocki) – had Eastern Wood-Pewee, House Finch, Tufted Titmouse, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, & Red-bellied Woodpecker. The baby Eastern Phoebes fledged.

6/6/22 – Lafayette Twp (Karyn Cichocki) – the Eastern Phoebe began incubating; also had Great Crested Flycatcher, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, and male Ruby-throated Hummingbird (no females seen yet).

5/22/22 – SCBC Sparta Mountain trip (Matt Skalla, leader) – 6 SCBC members joined the walk. Mix of habitats (Ryker Lake, Sparta Mountain woodlands, and a stop at the power lines off Edison Road) led to a count of 52 species. Highlights included good looks at a Worm-eating Warbler and a cooperative Prairie Warbler that posed for a few photos. A Least Flycatcher was heard & briefly seen. Heard a Yellow-billed Cuckoo calling and eventually a pair made an appearance. The excitement for a few was hearing the biz-buzz-buzz song of a possible Golden-winged Warbler that eventually showed himself to be a typical appearing Blue-winged Warbler. (Web Editor’s note: Blue-winged & Golden Winged Warblers frequently interbreed & can sing each other’s songs as well as “hybridized” songs, so visual confirmation is needed.) Also chased a possible sighting (and hearing as suggested by the Merlin App) of a Yellow-breasted Chat, however, no one got a good enough look to confirm it.

5/21/22 – SCBC Allamuchy Mountain SP trip (Mike Livesey, leader) – 7 SCBC members joined the hike and, in spite of the warm weather, all seemed to have a enjoyed the walk and the birds. Over 20 bird species were seen, including Eastern Kingbird, Baltimore Oriole, Killdeer, Yellow Warbler, Canada Warbler, American Redstart, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, and Cedar Waxwing.

5/19 – 5/23/22 – Lafayette Twp (Karyn Cichocki) – had American Robin fledglings in trees & begging for food, an Eastern Phoebe nest building on a platform her husband erected, a Northern Mockingbird imitating at least 6 other species’ songs, 4 young red squirrels chasing each other, and a family of eastern cottontails.

5/16/22 – Sparta (Bill & Connie Warren) – were surprised by a visit from their first yard Red-headed
Woodpecker. They are 2 of only a handful of lucky county birders to have seen all 7 species of NJ woodpeckers in their yards.

May 2022 – Warren County (John & Debbie Wilson) – had a White-breasted Nuthatch in their yard with an abnormally long bill. Feedback from other birders suggested it might be suffering from Avian keratin disorder (AKD).

White-breasted Nuthatch with possible AKD

5/14/22 – SCBC Dryden Kuser Natural Area/High Point SP field trip (Karyn Cichocki, trip leader) – 5 SCBC members & 2 guests joined her; the day was warm & damp. A total of 32 species were seen or heard. Highlights included hearing Wood & Hermit Thrushes, close views of Black-and-White & Black-throated Blue Warblers, active Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers, & a pair of Black-caped Chickadees carrying a fecal sack from a nest cavity. Plants observed included black spruce, Atlantic white cedar, striped maple, sphagnum moss, wild calla, and fringed polygala.

Fringed polygala

Week of 5/15/22 – Lafayette Twp (Karyn Cichocki) – had a singing male Scarlet Tanager, 2 White-throated Sparrows until 5/9, up to 3 White-crowned Sparrows, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Eastern Phoebe, a Great-crested Flycatcher calling, American Robins, a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird, & a couple of Yellow-rumped Warblers.

White-crowned & Chipping Sparrows

5/11/22 – Wolfpit Rd pond, Wantage Twp – Debbie Beers, who was leading a team with 2 other women from PA that were scouting for the World Series of Birding, found an adult Yellow-crowned Night-Heron on the pond. The bird was seen again later that day by Maria Loukeris & Allison Orsi; other SCBC members, as well as other birders & WSB teams, saw it through 5/14/22. This marks the first time this species has been seen in Sussex County.

5/11/22 – SCBC Hillside Park field trip (Karyn Cichocki, trip leader) – 3 SCBC members & a guest joined her; conditions were sunny, cool, & breezy. A total of 45 species were seen; highlights included seeing two female Baltimore Orioles building nests. Chestnut-sided Warbler was a life bird for Bob & Kathy Wilson. A red fox was seen watching for its prey.

5/9/22 – Fredon Twp (Wade & Sharon Wander) – at the junction of Warner Road and Fredon-Marksboro Road, they had 17 Solitary Sandpipers, 3 Lesser Yellowlegs, 1 Spotted Sandpiper, 1 Wilson’s Snipe, and a minimum of 8 Least Sandpipers. This is the same location that supported a Stilt Sandpiper last year. There has been an Orchard Oriole singing from the hedgerow near the pond.

5/8/22 – SCBC Delaware Water Gap NRA/Millbrook Village field trip (Karyn Cichocki, trip leader) – Conditions were 43F, cloudy, & windy. 4 SCBC members joined her on the trip. A total of 44 species were seen; highlights included close looks at Veery, Black-throated Blue Warbler, and Hooded Warbler.  They also saw signs of porcupine damage on several trees, bear scat, plus a mourning cloak and several juvenal’s duskywing butterflies.

5/6 & 5/7/22 – Lafayette Twp (Karyn Cichocki) – had a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Chipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrows, and a White-crowned Sparrow. The Bobolinks continue in the swampy field diagonally across the street from her yard.

5/5/22 – Liberty Marsh, Wallkill River NWR (Karyn Cichocki) – She & Allison Orsi were at the refuge & saw or heard Warbling & Yellow-throated Vireos, Ovenbird, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Palm and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Northern Waterthrush, Rusty Blackbird, Pied-billed Grebe, Sora, a drake Ring-necked Duck, Sandhill Crane, & a Great-horned owlet, as well as a garter snake. The also had a Glossy Ibis soaring over both sides of Oil City Road in NY, as well as several Turkey Vultures& a Common Gallinule.

5/4/22 – Lafayette Twp (Karyn Cichocki) – she was quite surprised to hear Bobolinks calling from the swamp area near her house. There were at least six males foraging in the grass & perched on vegetation. She also had Eastern Kingbirds, a Swamp Sparrow singing, White-throated Sparrows, and American Robin.

5/3/22 – Culvers Lake (Fred Weber) – reported 4 White-winged Scoters, 4 Red-throated Loons, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, and a Common Loon. A Forster’s Tern came and went.

Week of 4/26/22 – Lafayette Twp (Karyn Cichocki) – had a male Eastern Towhee, Chipping Sparrows, American Robin, a House Wren singing, White-throated Sparrows, Gray Catbird, and American Goldfinches.

4/25/22 – Andover Twp (Deborah Bifulco) – had a season-first Gray Catbird, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Northern Cardinal, House Wren, and Ruby-throated Hummingbird.  Eastern Bluebirds are busy with nest construction. Also had Red-winged Blackbird males singing and displaying in the yard, good numbers of White-throated Sparrows, and a few Dark-eyed Juncos.

4/24/22 – SCBC 8th Annual Jim Zamos Memorial/48th annual Hyper Humus Nature Walk (Marianne Ofenloch, trip leader) – weather included intermittent light breezes & mostly sunny skies. A total of 46 species were seen &/or heard on the trip. While the total is a bit below the trip average, 2 new species were added to the overall trip list this year: White-eyed Vireo & Common Raven. A Black Tern was seen; this was only the 2nd time that the species has been seen on the annual trip. Other highlights included Virginia Rails calling at 2 different locations, many Song & Swamp Sparrows and Yellow Warblers, a Northern Waterthrush singing while perched in a small tree, & Blue-headed Vireo calling; the latter 2 species have only been seen 8 times in the 48 year history of this trip. Black bear tracks & sign were very obvious on the trail between Ponds 3 & 5. Butterflies included 3 mourning cloaks & about a dozen cabbage whites. A large green dragonfly (possibly a female eastern pondhawk) and a yet-to-be-identified damselfly were observed along with many bumblebees & a single carpenter bee.

4/23/22 – Hyper Humus (Karyn Cichocki, Sandy McPhail, Allison Orsi) – saw 49 species, including Ruby-crowned & Golden-crowned Kinglets, Black-and-White, Yellow, & Palm Warblers, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Hermit Thrush, Blue-headed Vireo, Pied-billed Grebes, Wood Duck, American Black Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Double-crested Cormorant, Osprey, & a Wilson’s Snipe. They heard a Sora & an Eastern Towhee.

Blue-winged Teal (drake)

Week of 4/12/22 – Lafayette Twp (Karyn Cichocki) – saw 2 pairs of Ring-necked Ducks, White-throated Sparrows, a flock of 8 Dark-eyed Juncos, a Brown Thrasher, American Robins, 10 American Goldfinches, & her first Chipping Sparrow of the year calling from the neighbor’s yard.

4/9/22 – Roy Rd, Wantage Twp (Karyn Cichocki) – had a flock of Wilson’s Snipe, a pair of American Kestrels, and a pair of Belted Kingfishers.

4/9/22 – SCBC Bird Walk for Beginners (Sandy McPhail, trip leader) – The weather was 42-50 degrees and cloudy with drizzle and light rain for most of the trip. Two participants saw 36 species during the trip. Highlights included Killdeer, a mature Bald Eagle, Swamp Sparrows, Rusty Blackbirds, waterfowl (including Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon, and Ring-necked Duck), many Pied-billed Grebes calling, Tree Swallows, Barn Swallows, a Great Horned Owl high in a tree, and a pair of Sandhill Cranes.

4/9/22 – Lake Mohawk (William Warren) – saw 75+ Common Loons on the water.

4/9/22 – Culvers & Swartswood Lakes (Fred Weber) – reported 300 Common Loons & a Red-throated Loon on Culvers Lake. He then found a Little Gull associating with about 40 Bonaparte’s Gulls on Swartswood Lake. While viewing the Little Gull, 2 Red-throated Loons were also seen.

4/8/22 – Paulinskill Wildlife Management Area-Hyper Humus (Karyn Cichocki) – had 10 Bonaparte’s Gulls, Bufflehead, Ring-necked Duck, Common Merganser, Mallard, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, American Coot, Pied-billed Grebe, a flock of Cedar Waxwings, & a Black Vulture staring at me from a tree.

4/7/22 – Culvers Lake (Fred Weber) – reported that rain grounded about 50 Long-tailed Ducks, 50 Scaup, 11 Bonaparte’s Gulls, & perhaps more species.

4/1/22 – Hyper Humus & Culvers Lake (Allison Orsi) – At Hyper Humus, she saw 12 Horned Grebes in various states of molting, with one in full breeding plumage, along with a few Pied-billed Grebes, American Coot, and an Osprey hunting over the water. At Culvers Lake: a Red-throated Loon, a Common Loon, and some Ruddy Ducks and Greater Scaup.

Red-throated Loon

3/28/22 – Owens Station, Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge (Allison Orsi) – saw & photographed 2 Sandhill Cranes in a field.

Sandhill Cranes

3/19/22 – SCBC Bird Walk for Beginners (Sandy McPhail, trip leader) – 8 members joined her for a walk that began at the Sussex Branch Trail in Andover Boro. The weather was cloudy in the morning with peeks of sun after noon with temperatures 55 to 61 degrees. In addition to birds, they had frogs (spring peepers and wood frogs), painted turtles, & a mourning cloak butterfly. A total of 35 bird species were either seen or heard: Canada Goose, Wood Duck, American Wigeon, Mallard, American Black Duck, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Black & Turkey Vultures, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Woodpecker (Red-bellied, Downy, Hairy, Pileated), Eastern Phoebe, Blue Jay, American Crow, Common Raven, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, European Starling, Northern Mockingbird, Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, American Goldfinch, Dark-eyed Junco, White-throated Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird & Northern Cardinal.

3/8/22 – Paulinskill Wildlife Management Area-Hyper Humus (Karyn Cichocki & 6 members/former members) – saw Wood Duck, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, Green-winged Teal, Mallard, American Black Duck, Ring-necked Duck, Eurasian & American Wigeon, Common & Hooded Merganser, Bufflehead, Canada Goose, & Mute Swans.

3/7/22 – Owens Station, Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge (Karyn Cichocki) – Killdeer heard calling.

3/6/22-3/12/22 – Lafayette Twp (Karyn Cichocki) – had large flocks of American Robins, Common Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, a male Brown-headed Cowbird, 3 Fox Sparrows, at least 3 Song Sparrows, up to ten American Goldfinches, Dark-eyed Juncos.

2/28/22 – Frankford Twp (Don & Donna Traylor) – had at least 21 Purple Finches, the first Fox Sparrow, about 300 Snow Geese flying south over the yard, & over 30 American Goldfinches.

2/28/22 – Lafayette Twp (Karyn Cichocki) – had a Common Grackle, male & female Brown-headed Cowbirds, male Eastern Bluebirds, daily visits from several male Red-winged Blackbirds, American Robins, 5 American Goldfinches, and a brief visit from a Pine Siskin that had no tail feathers.  

2/27/22 – Stokes State Forest & Jefferson Twp yard (Alice Piatek) – she & her husband saw a Bald Eagle, 2 Turkey Vultures, and a few Dark-eyed Juncos at Stokes SF. In the yard, had 3 Red-bellied Woodpeckers, 1 female & 1 male Northern Cardinal, many Dark-eyed Juncos, a few White-throated Sparrows, 1 House Finch, a few American Goldfinches, & a few American Robins.  

2/23/22 – Green Twp & Frankford Twp (Don & Donna Traylor) – had about 500 Snow Geese among the Canada Geese on Airport Road in Green Twp. In their yard, have had an average of 7-11 Purple Finches each day. Territorial male Red-winged Blackbirds arrived on the 13th of February (within a day of last year).

2/19/22 – SCBC Bird Walk for Beginners, Kittatinny Valley SP (Sandy McPhail, trip leader) – 6 people attended the walk on a cold, windy, but mostly sunny day. 26 species were seen during the trip, including White-throated Sparrows, a few Dark-eyed Juncos, a Carolina Wren, a Field Sparrow, flocks of American Robins, a pale Red-tailed Hawk, a few Ring-billed Gulls, & a small flock of mostly Red-winged Blackbirds. The highlights of the day were a pair of mature Bald Eagles flying together side by side over the lake and thousands of Snow Geese flying overhead.

2/17/22 – Lafayette Twp (Karyn Cichocki) – had Red-winged Blackbirds singing. Had American Crows, Black Vultures, & Turkey Vultures feeding on a deer carcass. 2 male and 4 female Hooded Mergansers and a female American Wigeon were on a farm pond.

2/6/22 – Wallkill River Nat’l Wildlife Refuge (Allison Orsi) – saw a Short-eared Owl fly from the Sussex County side of the Liberty Marsh into the Orange County, NY side of the marsh then over Oil City Road further north into NY.

2/6/22 – Search for Eagles trip (Jack Padalino leader) – The season’s third Dr. S Marie Kuhnen Memorial Field Trip, Search for Eagles was held on a crisp, cold, sunny day that began with watching feeder birds, including Downy Woodpecker, Dark-eyed Junco, Blue Jays, & Black-capped Chickadees among others. Six participants, wearing face coverings and social distancing, logged 144 miles in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Upper Delaware Scenic River from PEEC to the Bushkill Access and the trip’s conclusion at the headwaters of the Lackawaxen River. 33 species of birds were seen, including 27 Bald Eagles (adults and juveniles), 17 Red-tailed Hawks, and 4 Common Ravens.

1/30/22 – Fredon Twp (Wade & Sharon Wander) – Within the past week, had a Brown Creeper, a mated pair of Pileated Woodpeckers, an immature Hermit Thrush, an immature Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, a flock of 140 Brown-headed Cowbirds with a smattering of Red-winged Blackbirds & Common Grackles, as many as 21 Blue Jays, 16 Mourning Doves, more than 50 White-throated Sparrows, about 25 Dark-eyed Juncos, a Song Sparrow, & a Northern Flicker. Of greater importance are the very low numbers of many other species: only 2 Northern Cardinals, 2 Black-capped Chickadees, 3 Tufted Titmice, 1 Hairy Woodpecker, & very few appearances of a Cooper’s or Sharp-shinned Hawk. They haven’t seen Fox Sparrow or American Tree Sparrow in several years. An adult Red-shouldered Hawk has been perching near the feeders. The tough hunting conditions even drove a Red-tailed Hawk into their yard, which they report as quite unusual for their yard.

1/25/22 – Kittatinny Valley State Park & Lafayette Twp (Karyn Cichocki, Debbie Bifulco, Allison Orsi, Alan Boyd) – At KVSP, they had a pair of Red-breasted Nuthatches, which Debbie had heard calling several days earlier. Also had many Canada Geese, Hooded Mergansers, Ring-necked Ducks, White-throated Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, a Field Sparrow, & a female Purple Finch. In Lafayette, Karyn had flocks of American Robins & European Starlings, a Northern Mockingbird, Eastern Bluebird, & a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

1/16/22 – Annual Dr. S. Marie Kuhnen Memorial NJ North Coast Field Trip (Jack Padalino, leader) – Two stalwarts weathered the cold and logged 289 miles from and to Dingmans Ferry, PA. From 7:00 a.m. through 6:00 p.m. we experienced a temperature range from minus three (-3) to 21 degrees Fahrenheit. Winds from the northeast were brisk and chilling. The surf was rough and pounded the shore. The tour began at Manasquan Inlet’s south jetty Point Pleasant Beach, and concluded at Lake Takanasee. Fifty bird species were observed. Highlights included Common and Red-throated Loons, both Great and Double-crested Cormorants, Northern Gannet, Great Blue Heron, 19 duck species (including Redhead, Harlequin Duck, Long-tailed Duck, White-winged Scoter, Eurasian Wigeon, and Red-breasted and Hooded Mergansers), Turkey Vulture, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Purple Sandpiper, Sanderling, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, and Ring-billed Gull.

1/13/22 – Sussex County sites (Karyn Cichocki, Debbie Bifulco, Allison Orsi, & Giselle Smisko) – walked the Hillside Trail behind Lake Iliff in Andover Twp. Highlights of the walk were Ruby-crowned & Golden-crowned Kinglets, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Brown Creeper, male Red-winged Blackbirds, 2 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, a Hermit Thrush, & American Robin. Also saw the usual assortment of more common birds. Allison & Karyn then went to Hunts Pond in Fredon Twp. There were at least 2,000 Canada Geese and the ongoing Greater White-fronted Goose, which was a life bird for Allison. Also seen were many American Black Ducks, Mallards, Ring-necked Ducks, Ruddy Ducks, Hooded Merganser, and American Wigeon. In her Lafayette yard, Karyn had Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Common Raven, Turkey & Black Vultures, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, American Robin, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and a pair of Northern Cardinals.

1/11/22 – Search for Eagles, Brandwein trip (Jack Padalino leader) – The second Search for Eagles (Brandwein trip) of the winter 2021-22 series was rescheduled from Sunday Jan. 9 due to an ice storm. The temperature at the start was 7 degrees and at the finish 13 degrees. It was a clear cold sunny day. We began by watching feeder birds at PEEC. Two participants, wearing face covering and social distancing, logged 149 miles in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Upper Delaware Scenic River from PEEC to the Bushkill Access and the trip’s conclusion at the headwaters of the Lackawaxen River. 37 species of birds were seen, including 19 Bald Eagles (17 adults and 2 juveniles), 8 Red-tailed Hawks, 1 Red-shouldered Hawk, a Peregrine Falcon, and 5 Common Ravens.

1/2/22 – Search for Eagles trip (Jack Padalino leader) – The second Search for Eagles trip of the winter 2021-22 series was held on a foggy, cloudy day that began with watching feeder birds including Downy Woodpecker, Dark-eyed Junco, Blue Jays, and Black-capped Chickadees among others. Four participants, wearing face covering and social distancing, logged 146 miles in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Upper Delaware Scenic River from PEEC to the Bushkill Access and the trip’s conclusion at the headwaters of the Lackawaxen River. 28 species of birds were seen, including 16 Bald Eagles (13 adults and 3 juveniles), 1 Red-shouldered Hawk, 4 Red-tailed Hawks, and 1 Peregrine Falcon.