Sunday, March 16, 2008

March 15 - Sussex County spots

Having just a few hours free today I visited some spots in Sussex County. On the drive to my first stop, I saw a Kestrel.
At the Sussex County Landfill, I was able to locate two Lesser Black-Backed Gulls, and identify another gull that I feel is a Herring x Glaucous hybrid (a.k.a. Nelson's Gull). Certainly I am not a gull expert and could always be mistaken, particularly with the high variability of the gull family.

The bird in question was predominately white, with not a touch of gray to be seen on the mantle. The pinkish bill with complete dark tip also got my attention, and I immediately thought I had a Glaucous, yet the bill was not large enough. On further examination, also I noted that the primaries were darkish, and the bird had a dark tail band. Certainly a leucistic Herring Gull should be considered. However, I feel that a hybrid gull is likely.

Here is an image I found on the internet that appears like the bird I saw:

My next stop was Paulinskill WMA, also known as Hyper-Humus. Here I saw a pair of Tree Swallows, nearly a dozen Rusty Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, and several species of duck: Mallard, Black, Gadwall, Pintail, GW Teal, Wigeon, Wood, Ring-Necked, Bufflehead, Ruddy & Common Mergs, and a few Coot.

Finally at Swartswood Lake, I saw a few Common Goldeneye, and a Lesser Scaup.