Sightings 2023

11/20/22 Lafayette sightings 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.

11/27/22 Sussex Birding- Karyn Cichocki

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 Golden­ eye, 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 Kemah – 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 Cow­ bird, Fox Sparrow, American Robin and a pair of American Black Ducks on the farm pond just down the road.

White-fronted Goose                            Common Goldeneye


Belted Kingfisher – male                                                                  Fox Sparrow


1/18/23 Swartswood Lake Karyn Cichocki

On Wed 1/18, the Wilsons, Steve Fitzsimmons, Bill McDaniel, Allison Orsi and I made a tour around Swarts­ wood Lake. From the beach at the main parking lot, we saw Canada Geese, Bufflehead, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Hooded Merganser, American Wigeon, Mallard, Ruddy Duck, Mute Swan, Ring-billed Gulls and an immature Bald Eagle. There was a flotilla of at least 500 Com­ mon Merganser on the middle of the lake.

At Hendershot Point, we had more Hooded & Common Merganser, Bufflehead, Ring-necked Duck, Black Duck, Mallard, Mute Swan, American Coot, Pied-billed Grebe and another immature Bald Eagle that was darker in plum­ age than the first bird seen. We watched this one circle around and then come down to the water and miss its fish.

At the west shore just north of the boat launch, Mallards, lots of Black Duck, Lesser Scaup, Hood & Common
Merganser, Bufflehead and a Kingfisher was heard calling.

At a pull off on Rte 521, Gadwall, Redhead, Black Duck, Hooded Merganser were seen.

   The group then proceeded to Little Swartswood where they saw Mute Swan, Bufflehead and Hooded Merganser and Ring-necked Duck.

Redhead duck – Allison Orsi Immature Bald Eagle – Bill McDaniel
Common Merganser Male Hooded Merganser – Bill McDaniel

1/24/23 Lafayette – Karyn Cichocki
It has been rather quiet in the yard.  We had a Fox Sparrow under the feeder when I got home from the Sussex Christmas Bird Count on 12/19, then Don spotted a Brown Creeper on the front Cedar where we have the suet feeder hanging on 12/22.  The end of the year brought a small flock of European Starlings crowding the feeders, birdbath and front lawn.

We have had American Goldfinch on and off at the thistle feeder. At times up to six Northern Cardinals, four males and 2 females. 

1/5 an immature White-crowned Sparrow was under the feeder for a short while, we usually don’t see them in the winter here.  Last week we had about 5 Eastern Bluebirds chasing around in the trees at the end of the driveway. 

Today, 1/24 I had three nice surprises, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper and immature White-crowned Sparrow.

2/2/23 Gold Mine Road-Mt Olive Bill McDaniel

Went to Gold Mine Road today since it was on the bright side.

Soon after getting there and most of the way into the trails, I heard a Kingfisher rattle call. MIGHT have seen it flying shortly afterwards at quite a distance out. Not certain but it did seem blue-ish.

Also, after a bit I saw a Flicker also at a distance but identi­fiable zoomed in. Then I saw a bird fly a bit closer to me, thought it was the Flicker still, but it was a Red-headed Woodpecker! It wasn’t too far away, but then after waiting a few more minutes, it flew closer. Still pretty high in a naked/dead tree on the shore, but I got some photos.

It’s been decades since I have seen one.

2/8/23 Wallkill River NWR Alice Piatek & Alan Gutmore

Al & I were on the Liberty Loop Trail at WNWR on Wed., 2/8 in the afternoon. We observed a huge flock of Snow Geese, perhaps approximately 200. We also observed a Northern Harrier, which probably prompted the geese to take flight, Black Vulture, Song Sparrow, and American Crow.

2/10/23 Jefferson Township Alice Piatek & Alan Gutmore

During Al’s run at the Saffin Pond area at Mahlon Dickerson Reservation in Jefferson Township, he observed 2 Bald Eagles flying over today, 2/10. He also observed 2 Buffleheads at Russia Pond in Jefferson. We have never seen any other waterfowl there ex­ cept for Mallards and Great Blue Herons.

At home in our yard, 2 Red-Bellied Woodpeckers visited our suet basket, along with our usual visitors at our feeders or on the ground: Tufted Titmice, White-Throated Sparrows, Black-Capped Chickadees, Dark-Eyed Juncos, Northern Cardinals, House Spar­ rows, House Finches, Mourning Doves and Blue Jays.

2/16/23 Andover Deborah Bifulco

A contingent of blackbirds showed up at my feeders late last week and today they all started singing! It sounds like spring, and today when I went to Swartswood, I heard a couple of frogs singing. I saw one of the Bald Eagles at Little Swartswood, but no one on the nest.

2/16/23 Lafayette Karyn Cichocki

The month of February has brought a Red-breasted Nuthatch and immature White-crowned Sparrow into the yard. The nuthatch appeared on and off for a week and the White-crown over two weeks. A few days ago a Common Grackle showed up and has been seed under the feeder, foraging on the front lawn and in the gardens at the property edges, tossing leaves up in the air. When the sun shines on him, he is a handsome sight with purple, green and blue iridescent feathers.

Immature White-crowned Sparrow – Karyn Cichocki