View our latest birding reports below. If you’re interested in going on one of these morning walks, e-mail birding@ucnj.org.  The newest report is opened below.  To find Lenape Park, use the address 130 Kenilworth Blvd, Cranford, NJ 07016 in your GPS or mobile phone.

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Ridgewood Camera Club. http://www.ridgewoodcameraclub.org/omalley_p.html Green Heron Range Map. Created by Terry Sohl. http://sdakotabirds.com/species/maps/green_heron_map.htm Submitted By: Shanay R. Cantu-Chambers, July 2012

Location: Cranford, Union County, NJ
Day/Date: Saturday, 14-April-18
Time: 0730 to 1000
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Observers: Ed Z., Kevin R., Clare M.
Weather: Clear with Few Scattered Clouds
Temperature: 61º F
Wind: Clam, SSW
Walking Route: Sit & Stay

Today’s “walk” was more like a Big Sit. First we “sat” by the Westfield Pond and then we “sat” in  the main parking lot enjoying one another’s conversation about where all the reported warblers were hiding. While the bird list is short we did see the arrival of the Bird of the Day at the Westfield Pond.

Song sparrows and American Goldfinch seemed to be everywhere, and yes, one Palm Warbler was spotted. As for the Bird of the Day, it was a pair of Green Heron hanging around their usual nesting location at the Westfield Pond.

Field Notes: Upcoming events include the New Jersey Audubon (NJA) World Series of Birding on Saturday, May 12. The Lenape Park Nighthawks team will be at the park at 0500 on the Big Day hoping to record 100 species of birds. If you would like to support out team with a pledge, click on the web site, click on DONATE, then click on SUPPORT A TEAM, then scroll down to LENAPE PARK NIGHTHAWKS. Make your pledge or donation directly to NJA and receive a conformation e-mail.

The second event is the Wild Birds Unlimited Binocular program on Friday, April 20, at 6:PM and birding walk on Saturday, April 21, at 7: AM at the Deserted Village in the Watchung Reservation. call the store at, (908) 233-5004 for details and reservations.

Area Birds of Interest

Green Heron  2
Great Blue Heron  1
Blue Jay  3
American Crow  1
tufted Titmouse  3
Red-bellied WQoodpecker  2
Song Sparrow  10
American Goldfinch  15
White-throated Sparrow  5
Tree Swallow  15
Palm Warbler  1
Carolina Wren  1
Turkey Vulture  1
Saturday, 24-March-18

Photo from TrekOhio’s website

Location: Lenape Park, Cranford, Union County, NJ
Day/Date: Saturday, 24-March-18
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Observers: Ed Z, Tony G., Dan D., Kevin R., Kaz M.
Weather: Clear Blue Sky
Temperature: 37º to 40º F
Wind: NNW at 5 mph
Visibility: Unlimited
Walking Route: West Along Dike to Kiosk #A 2 (Woodpecker Woods)

A perfect day to be out and about in the great out-of-doors looking for birds. Red-winged Blackbird numbers were good and the males are displaying their bright red epaulets that are so impressive to the females. A few American Goldfinch were moving about the scrub brush of the former Trap & Skeet filed as were Song Sparrows. A Red-tailed Hawk also spotted above our heads circling above the parking lot.

Choosing the Bird of the Day presented a problem. It was a choice among my favorite little wren, a large woodpecker and a large black bird that is seen more in passing rather than perching in the park. I choose the latter.

A bird that arrived early but disappeared the past two or three week once again was seen checking out several of the nestboxes. two Tree Swallows were swooping over the wetland area, most likely looking for flying insects that were nowhere to be found.

Now for that Bird of the Day. It goes to a pair of Black Vulture. While not often seen in the park, they do on occasion fly over and are most likely migrating north. About 25 years ago, seeing a Black Vulture was a rarity. they are a southern species but nest with great frequency now in New Jersey.

Field Notes: Get ready for the 35th New Jersey Audubon (NJA) World Series of Birding, coming on SATURDAY, 12-MAY-18. The Lenape Park Nighthawks will once again be in the field count as many species of birds to raise funds for NJA. Check out their web site at: 

World Series of Birding

Also, if you are looking for birding supplies and programs, check out the Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop on Route 22 E, in Scotch Plains. Their web site is:

[www.wbu.com/scotchplains]WILD BIRDS UNLIMITED

They are very knowledgeable and friendly, serving all of your birding needs.

Area Birds of Interest

  • Black Vulture  2
  • Red-winged Blackbird  25
  • Blue Jay  3
  • American Crow  1
  • American Goldfinch  5
  • Tree Swallow  2
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
  • Pileated Woodpecker  2
  • Northern Cardinal  1
  • Belted Kingfisher  1
  • Carolina Wren  2
  • American Robin  5
  • Cooper’s Hawk  1
  •  Red-tailed Hawk  1
  • Turkey Vulture  1
  • Great Blue Heron  1
  • Wood Duck  2
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Location: Lenape Park, Cranford, Union County, NJ
Day/Date: Saturday, 24-February-18
Time: 0900-1100
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Observers: Ed Z., Tony G.
Weather: Partly to Mostly Cloudy
Temperature: 47º to 52º F
Wind: WSW, 5 mph
Walking Route: West Along Path Toward Westfield Ponds to Kiosk #3

This was one of those last minute decisions to go for a birding walk before the rain started, which it did about 2 hours after the walk ended. Lost of birds singing, mostly Red-winged Blackbird and Common Grackle, and my favorite bird; today’s Bird of the Day.

The distance of the walk was short due to stopping to talk with the many dog walkers, joggers and bikers who stopped to inquire , asking what birds we were seeing. As mentioned above, Grackle, Red-winged were in good numbers along with a few American Robin sightings. As for the Bird of the Day, it was none other than a Carolina Wren, in fact three individuals.

Field Notes:

Birding activity should begin to pick up in the next few week as the early migrants begin to move into the area. In particular, American Woodcock should be in the park soon and I will schedule an evening or two during the the week for group participation. This is always an interesting event to see an hear this unusual bird so check your e-mail for an announcement.

Area Birds of Interest
Carolina Wren  3
Common Grackle  25
Red-winged Blackbird  20
American Robin  10
Blue Jay  5
Northern Cardinal  2
Song Sparrow  5
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Northern Mockingbird  1
American Crow  1
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Saturday, 3-February-18
Location: Lenape Park, Cranford, Union County, NJ
Day/Date:Saturday, 3-February-18
Time: 0830 to 1030
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Observers: Ed Z., Clare & Tom M., Natalie G., and Dan
Weather:  Clear and very Cold
Temperature: 16º F
Wind: W and Light

Walking Route: Kenilworth Bike Trail to Sewer Right-of-Way

Bright and sunny but very cold. The birds were few and far between. Even the ducks were in hiding. The high light of of the morning was hearing the distant sound of the Bird of the Day, Carolina Wren.  sa lot of small brown birds in the underbrush but difficult to identify. Most were Song and White-throated Sparrows.

Not a great birding day but we did enjoy each others company and the invigorating morning in the woods.

Field Notes: If you are looking for something to do this coming weekend. Stop by the Wild Birds Unlimited (WBU)store, 2520 Route 22 E, in Scotch Plains for an interesting birding talk be well known birder, Pete Axelrod. He will be at the store from 0830 to 0930 and will be discussing bird seed for birds and answer your question about birding. E-mail WBU at: wbuscotchplains@gmail.com

  • Area Birds of Interest
  • Carolina Wren  1
  • Blue Jay  3
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
  • Downy Woodpecker  1
  • American Robin  2
  • White-throated Sparrow  4
  • Song Sparrow  5
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Location: Lenape Park, Cranford, Union County, NJ
Day/Date: Saturday, 20-January-18
Time: 0800 to 1000
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Observers: Ed Z., Natalie G., Simon R.
Weather: Blue Sky with Scattered Clouds
Temperature Range: 37º to 40º F
Wind: Light, WSW
Hiking Route: Main Parking Lot to Westfield Pond
 

We finally got to birding the park after some rather rough weather the past few weeks. The birds we expected to see we didn’t and the birds we didn’t expect to see we did. The final bird was a Hairy Woodpecker and that was the only woodpecker we saw. Other that lost of Canada Geese flying overhead, the only bird of more that 10 individuals was the Bird of the Day.

The only raptor was a lone Turkey Vulture (TV) gliding low over the trail by Kiosk # 3. Do you know what you call two Turkey Vultures? Find the answer later in this report. Our first bird was a Carolina Wren and we did hear several White-breasted Nuthatch. The Bird of the Day was a flock of American Robin which was completely unexpected.

Field Notes:

Be reminded that the park is closed most Monday’s until February due to the scheduled deer hunt. Signs are posted at the entrance to the park. Oh, the answer to what do you call two Turkey Vultures? Answer, a TV SET.

Area Birds of Interest

  • American Robin  15
  • Carolina Wren  1
  • Blue Jay  5
  • Mourning Dove  10
  • Northern Cardinal  5
  • White-breasted Nuthatch  4
  • Tufted Titmouse  4
  • White-throated Sparrow  1
  • Belted Kingfisher  1
  • Turkey Vulture  1
  • Canada Goose  100
Saturday, 2-December-17
Location: Lenape Park, Cranford, Union County, NJ
Day/Date: Saturday, 2-December-17
Time: 0800 to 1030
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Observers: Ed Z., Janet T., Simon R., Clare & Jim.
Weather: Blue Sky with Scattered Clouds
Temperature Range: 32º to 43º F
Wind: SE, Clam
Walking Route: Back Trail along Greenway Bike Path

Once again surprisingly few species of birds for this time of year. Even with a power packed birding team heard more birds than we saw. The back trail along the Kenilworth border did have more birds than our usual path to the Westfield ponds.

Among the species was my particular favorite that became the Bird of the Day that was calling from deep within the forest. A fleeting glimpse of a Sharp-shinned Hawk was spotted by Janet near the 1 mile marker along the bike path. Goldfinches were seen high in the Sycamore trees feeding on the seed pods. The final bird of the day was a Belted Kingfisher that flew over the parking lot as we were about to end our walk.

I almost forgot. The Bird of the Day is the Carolina Wren.

Field Notes:  In two weeks, 16-December-17, the Friends of Lenape Park will be participating in the Christmas Bird Count. This is an annual event sponsored by the National Audubon Society. Wish us well, and I hope we will see more species than we saw today.

Area Birds of Interest

  • Carolina Wren  3
  • White-throated Sparrow  10
  • Song Sparrow  5
  • Tufted Titmouse  5
  • Downy Woodpecker  3
  •  Hairy Woodpecker  2
  • Blue Jay  5
  • American Crow  1
  • American Goldfinch  10
  • House Finch  1
  • White-breasted Nuthatch  2
  • Black-capped Chickadee  5
  • Belted Kingfisher  1
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk  1
  • Great Blue Heron  1
Saturday, 25-November-17
  • Location: Lenape Park, Cranford, Union County, NJ
  • Day/Date: Saturday, 25-November-17
  • Time: 0800 to 1100
  • Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
  • Observers: Ed Z., Danny D., Tony
  • Weather: Partly to Mostly Cloudy
  • Temperature Range: 33º to 43º F
  • Wind: West & Light

Image resultWalking Route: Parking Lot, West to Woodpecker Woods

It’s been quite some time since my last “Weekly Report” but that doesn’t mean I have abandoned my birding activities. Today seemed like a good day to strike out into the woods considering the significance of today’s date. More about that a little further down in this report.

While the weather was really inviting the lack of bird species was somewhat of a surprise. Species one would normally see at this time of year were nowhere to be found. We did see lots of Mourning Does but not one sparrow of any kind. One unusual sighting was a lone Common Yellowthroat Warbler (“Wichety, witchetty,)  which is a very  uncommon sighting for this time of year. My all time favorite, Carolina Wren, could be heard from deep within the “Woodpecker Woods” location which brings me to why today is such a special day, and the Bird of the Day just happens to be the reason why.

Today is the seventieth birthday of one of the most famous woodpeckers in all of America. It was on this day that the famous cartoon woodpecker was created. You guessed it, no other that Woody Woodpecker. As the story goes, the Pileated Woodpecker was the inspiration for Woody, and it just so happened that the last bird spotted today was a Pileated Woodpecker.

Area Birds of Interest

  • Pileated Woodpecker  1
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
  • Northern Flicker  1
  • American Crow 2
  • Blue Jay  5
  • Carolina Wren  1
  • American Goldfinch  5
  • Common Yellowthroat  1
  • Tufted Titmouse  2
  • Red-tailed Hawk  1
Saturday, 26-August-17
  • Location: Lenape Park, Cranford, Union County, NJ
  • Day/Date: Saturday, 26-August-17
  • Time: 0800 to 0930
  • Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
  • Observer: Ed Z.
  • Weather: Cloudless, Clear Blue Sky
  • Temperature: 61º F
  • Wind: E, 0 mph
  • Walking Route: Parking Lot, West to Woodpecker Woods

Another one of our “short” walks but we did see some interesting birds. Lots of American Goldfinch around the parking lot and a good number of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Tufted Titmice in the tree line at Woodpecker Woods. Barn Swallows are still hanging around and Gray Catbirds are still on site, too.

The Bird of the Day was our last sighting thanks to two fellow birders who stopped to chat as we were about to head back to the parking lot. While not a stranger to the park, it is not commonly seen this time of year. A male Baltimore Oriole was perched high in a tree at the eastern corner of the woods and nestbox field. A nice way to end the morning.

Field Notes:

Some interesting sightings were made yesterday (Friday, 25-August-17) by the Friends “Founder”, Tom P. on the back trail from the dam to PBA building. Lots of warblers and gnatcatchers. Also, lots of invasive shrubs, such as mile-a-minute.

Area Birds of Interest

  • Baltimore Oriole  1 (male)
  • Barn Swallow  20
  • American Goldfinch  15
  • Eastern Wood Pewee  6
  • Tufted Titmouse  5
  • Northern Cardinal  3
  • Downy Woodpecker  1
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
  • Gray Catbird  2
  • Red-tailed Hawk  1
Saturday, 12-August-17
  • Location: Lenape Park, Cranford, Union County, NJ
  • Day/Date: Saturday, 12-August-17
  • Time: 0800 to 0930
  • Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
  • Observers: Clare & Jim M., Ed Z. & Simon R.
  • Weather: Overcast & Humid
  • Temperature: 70 º F
  • Wind: S at 4 mph

August is usually the month of change in the birding world. While it is a little early for some of the fall migrants to show up at the park, some of the birds that should be departing (Barn Swallow) are still hanging around while the food (flying insects) is still abundant. No new surprises to report but the regulars provided much enjoyment.

The Bird of the Day, while a common regular, hadn’t been seen for several weeks and it was searching for food in the leaf litter with a common invader. Once again, American Goldfinch was in good numbers in the former Trap & Skeet field as were Mourning Doves. Gray Catbird and Tufted Titmouse were also numerous along the trail to the Westfield Pond. A single American Crow flew low over the bike trail as we approached Kiosk # 2.  

The Bird of the Day was a lone Song Sparrow feeding with 3 English House Sparrows.

Two large, white domestic rabbits are now residents (but not for too long) were feeding along the grass area behind the field house. Their chance of survival is quite slim considering their wild habits are limited at best. A local park visitor informed me he saw them about two days ago in the same location. I would think a Red-tailed Hawk, Coyote or Red Fox will be their demise. It is cruel to free domestic pets into a wildlife habitat and against Union County Park regulations. Also, a Box Turtle was spotted in the grass between Kiosk # 2 & 3. Rarely seen but always an unexpected surprise. If you see a turtle along the path or crossing a road, lend a hand and move it to the side it was attempting to reach.

Area Birds of Interest
Song Sparrow  1
American Goldfinch  10
House Finch  5
American Crow  1
Blue Jay  10
Barn Swallow  12
Tufted Titmouse  5
Gray Catbird  5
Common Grackle  2
American Robin  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Great Blue Heron  1
Thursday, 3-August-17
Location: Lenape Park, Cranford, Union County, NJ
Day/Date: Thursday, 3-August-17
Time: 0730 to 0900
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Observer: Ed Z.
Weather: Cloudless Blue Sky
Temperature: 70º F
Wind: Calm
Walking Route: Bike Path West to Kiosk # 2 (Short Walk)

Today was my first official walk since my knee surgery way back in February of this year. The knee is a little better so short walks are the order of the day. It felt good to be with my good buddy and to have an opportunity to see a few birds.

The list is short but we did see a few good birds (all birds are good) and the first and last birds were spotted in the main parking lot where we started and finished our stroll. I chose the first bird spotted as our Bird of the Day; a flock of America Goldfinch. We also spotted a lone Downy Woodpecker that was in need of some serious feather grooming but that may be due to a possible molt at this time of year.

Area Birds of Interest

  • American Goldfinch  10
  • Downy Woodpecker  1
  • Mourning Dove  15
  • Blue Jay  2
  • House Finch  2
  • Barn Swallow  8
  • Gray Catbird  1
  • Northern Cardinal  1
  • Great Blue Heron  1
Wednesday, 26-April-17
Location: Lenape Park, Cranford, Union County, NJ
Day/Date: Wednesday, 26-April-17
Time: 1400 to 1500
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Weather: Overcast, 100% Cloud Cover
Temperature: 72º F
Wind: Calm
Route: Rahway River Dam to Kiosk # 2 (Woodpecker Woods)

Just had to get out of the house between rain drops and see if any new birds arrived at the park. Not too much luck but I did get to see 3 Great Egrets (Bird of the Day) in the front pond, in full breeding plumage, and one of them caught a fish as I arrived. It looked like a carp. Lots of American Robin, Red-winged Blackbird and Tree and Barn Swallows. A Red-tailed Hawk was perched near the top of a tree where the Nomahegan Brook joins the Rahway River.

My list is short but the hour I spent was quality time in the great out doors.

Field Notes: Next Saturday, May 6, the Friends of Lenape Park’s Nighthawks birding team will once again be participating in New Jersey Audubon Society’s World Series of Birding to raise funds for the society. The event is a 24 hours search (we only do 12 hours) to identify as many species of birds we see or hear. This year is the 34th Annual event and we hope you will join us by making a pledge of as few or as many dollars you care to donate. This year you can go to our web page and make your donation on line. many of you have already made a pledge but for those of you who haven’t here is your chance. Click on the highlighted address.

World Series of Birding 2017

Birds of Interest
Great Egret  3
American Robin  15
Tree Swallow  10
Barn Swallow  10
Red-winged Blackbird  15
Common Grackle  10
American Goldfinch  10
Northern Cardinal 1
Belted Kingfisher  2
White-throated Sparrow  3
Red-bellied Woodpecker  4
Wood Duck  2
Mallard Duck  2
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Saturday, 15-April-17

Location: Lenape Park, Union County, Cranford, NJ
Day/Date: Saturday, 15-April-17
Time: 0900 to 1130
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Observers: Ed Z., Simon R., Kevin R., Linda H., Clare M., Jim M., Margot P.
Weather: 100% Cloud Cover
Temperature: 55º F
Wind: Calm

Route: Along Western Bike Trail to Inside Pond Trail

It’s been awhile since my last report. I have been recuperating From knee surgery so this was my first effort afoot in the field since February. My Recovery has been slow but I just needed to get out and count some birds with my friends.

The species count was rather low but we did get to see quite a few Northern Flickers and Red-bellied Woodpeckers. I picked a rather “common” Spring and Summer bird for the Bird of the Day, but one that has only recently arrived. “Woodpecker Woods” had four (4) Wood Duck swimming through stream and didn’t seem to mind that we were looking at them. Most likely mating was the main priority for them. the last bird recorded was a pair of Red-tailed Hawks circling over the entrance road into the park as I was about to leave.

The Bird of the Day is Barn Swallow.

Field Notes: the “Big Day”, Saturday, May 6, 2017 is right around the corner. What is the “Big Day”? Why it’s the New Jersey Audubon Society’s 34th Annual WORLD SERIES OF BIRDING. Once again, the Friends of Lenape Park Nighthawks team will be afield, starting at 0500, counting as many species of birds we see in the park by 1700 (12 hours). We once again have a goal of 100 species. You can help by pledging a few dollars for NJAS. Go to our web page to make a donation and charge it your credit card. Thanks for your support.

World Series of Birding 2017<http://worldseriesofbirding.org/teampage.asp?fundid=1110#.WOU_QstzHZs>

Birds of Interest
Barn Swallow 10
Tree Swallow 15
Red-winged Blackbird 10
Common Grackle 10
Belted Kingfisher 1
Blue jay 5
American Crow 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 10
Northern Flicker 8
Downy Woodpecker 2
Tufted Titmouse 2
Song Sparrow 3
Wood Duck 4
Turkey Vulture 1
Red-tailed Hawk 2

Saturday, 11-February-17

Killdeer courtesy of Kevin Bolton

Location: Lenape Park, Cranford, Union County, NJ
Day/Date: Saturday, 11-February-17
Time: 0900 to 1030
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Observers: Simon R. and Jacki D. & Friends
Weather: Mostly Cloudy
Temperature Range: 36º to 43º F
Wind: WSW, Light
Walking Route: Main Parking Lot to Westfield Pond

The park is still covered with 6″ to 8″ of snow and few birds were active along the forest edges. The “First” bird of the day also became the Bird of the Day.  More on that later. Moving down the bike path near “Woodpecker Woods”, a Pileated Woodpecker flew across the path and perched in a stand of trees giving us a good look if only for a few minutes.

Another possible sighting (200 ft. into the woods) was of a Red-shouldered Hawk (RS) but its identity was in question. A RS has been spotted in the park this winter so there was a 75% chance that was what we saw. there were a few mixed flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles, too.

Back to the Bird of the Day. While standing in the parking lot, just as we were about to begin our walk, a Killdeer flew over our heads. Not unusual except it’s a little early to spot one in early February.

Area Birds of Interest
Killdeer  1
Common Grackle  35
Red-winged Blackbird 30
Blue Jay  6
American Crow  2
Pileated Woodpecker  1
Downy Woodpecker  2
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  4
Northern Flicker  2
Carolina Wren  3
White-throated Sparrow  3
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Turkey Vulture  1
Saturday, 21-January-17

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Will Elder, NPS

Location: Lenape Park, Cranford, Union County, NJ
Day/Date: Saturday, 21-January-17
Time: 0900 to 1100
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Observers: Ed Z., Simon R, & Karen C.
Weather: Overcast, 100% Cloud Cover
Temperature: 40º F
Wind: Calm
Walking Route: Parking Lot to Westfield Pond

Dark, dank and dreary morning with lots of birds calling; mostly Tufted Titmouse and Northern Flicker. Another bird with good numbers was the White-breasted Nuthatch and Rusty Blackbird. Several Carolina Wrens were in the mix and a lone Red-tailed Hawk was perched near the dike path in Woodpecker Woods by Kiosk #2.

The Bird of the Day was a lone Yellow-rumped Warbler that was also spotted in Woodpecker Woods. Several Wood Ducks were swimming in the inside Westfield Pond but not much else on the water at that location.

Field Notes: Check out Kiosk #1 by the beginning of the bike trail along the entrance road to the parking lot. The County recently added a new display box for the Weekly Bird Check List. The weekly results are recorded covering the respective month.

Area Birds of Interest
Yellow-rumped Warbler  1
Northern Flicker  10
Red-bellied Woodpecker  5
Downy Woodpecker  3
Hairy Woodpecker  2
Northern Mockingbird  1
Blue Jay  10
American Crow  2
Tufted Titmouse  10
White-breasted Nuthatch  4
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Dark-eyed Junco  5
Song Sparrow  4
White-throated Sparrow  4
American Robin  5
Northern Cardinal  1
Rusty Blackbird  5
Carolina Wren  3
Great Blue Heron  1
 Red-tailed Hawk  1
Wood Duck  5
January 14, 2017
 Location: Lenape Park, Cranford, Union County, NJ
Day/Date: Saturday, 14-January-17
Time: 0900 to 1100
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Observers: Ed Z., Hank B., Clare & Jim M., Tony G., and Ralph
Weather: Partly to Mostly Cloudy
Temperature: 31º to 35º F
Wind: Calm
 
Walking Route: Parking Lot to Westfield Pond
 
A mild morning weather wise considering snow is predicted. The “A” team made the best of the favorable morning conditions and we were able to see and identify two (2) Bird of the Day species. More on that later. Once again a good gathering of Rusty Blackbirds mixed in with Common Grackle on the ground behind the Field House in the parking lot. Lots of Dark-eyed Junco also in the area.
 
The first Bird of the Day was perched in “Woodpecker Woods” and was an easy spot by everyone in the group. A large contingent of local Blue Jays was also in the area harassing our “Day” bird. The second “Day” bird was at the Westfield Pond and stood out from its fellow pond mates. A Belted Kingfisher and Great Blue Heron were also at the pond.
 
Our two candidates for Bird of The Day you might have guessed. The first (the harassed bird) was a Red-shouldered Hawk while number #2, was a Greater White-fronted Goose. Both have been in the park for the past several weeks so you should have an opportunity in the coming weeks to catch a glimpse of both.
 
Field Notes: Be aware that Union County is conducting its annual Deer Hunt in Lenape and Nomahegan parks. Hunt day is Monday until February. In the past, the public was allowed to walk on the pathways but for safety reasons pedestrian traffic is not allowed this year. White-tailed Deer impact the habitat by consuming the native plant population to such a degree that in impacts not only the plant life but also the animals by destroying their habitat.
 
Area Birds of Interest
Red-shouldered Hawk  1
Greater White-fronted Goose  1
Dark-eyed Junco  20
Red-winged Blackbird  20
Rusty Blackbird  10
Red-bellied Woodpecker  4
Downy Woodpecker  3
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Blue Jay  20
American Crow  2
American Robin  1
Tufted Titmouse  5
Song Sparrow  5
 White-throated Sparrow  10
Northern Cardinal  1
Northern Mockingbird  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Great Blue Heron  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
January 7, 2017
Location: Lenape Park, Cranford, Union County, NJ
Day/Date: Saturday, 7-January-17
Time: 0900 to 1100
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Observers: Janet T., Ed Z., Simon R., & Hank B.
Weather: Light Snow, 100% Cloud Cover
Temperature: 24º F to 21º F
Wind: NE, 5 mph

Walking Route: Parking Lot to Westfield Ponds

Happy New Year to everyone. It’s been just over one month since my last report, and her we are bucking a nor-easter just to count a few birds. The effort was well rewarded with some interesting birds. Woodpeckers were well represented with Downy, Hairy, Red-bellied and Northern Flicker. Yes, Flicker and a good number of them.

The Bird of the Day (two species) were one of the first and last spotted during our walk. The latter was a rather large flock on the ground near the field house at the main parking lot. Two species of wren (Carolina & Winter) were counted and a few Black-capped Chickadees were in the mix in the trees by Kiosk #2. Another surprise was a good number of American Robin, too.

The two species of the Bird of the Day are: Yellow-rumped Warbler & Rusty Blackbird.

Field Notes: Two sightings of interest lately recorded at the Westfield Pond were a Snow Goose and a Greater White-fronted Goose. The Snow Goose is the more common winter transient while the White-fronted Goose is a rare find.

Area Birds of Interest
Yellow-rumped Warbler  3
Rusty Blackbird  20
Belted Kingfisher  1
American Tree Sparrow  3
Song Sparrow  5
White-throated Sparrow 10
Winter Wren  1
Carolina Wren  3
Dark-eyed Junco  10
American Robin  15
Downy Woodpecker  3
Hairy woodpecker  4
Red-bellied Woodpecker  5
Northern Flicker  8
Northern Cardinal  1
American Crow  1
Blue Jay  5
White-breasted Nuthatch  4
Tufted Titmouse  4
Northern Mockingbird  1
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Sharp-shinned Hawk  1
October 15, 2016
  • Location: Lenape Park, Cranford, Union county, NJ
  • Day/Date: Saturday, 15-October-2016
  • Time: 0930 to 1030
  • Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
  • Observer: Ed Z.
  • Weather: Cloudless & Very Blue Sky
  • Temperature: 49º F
  • Wind: Calm

Walking Route: Main Parking Lit to Westfiled Pond

Yes, I’m back birding in Lenape Park after a long summer hiatus. The weather was just too perfect not to venture out into the “wilds” of the park to see what might be flying in from some place north of Union County. Since Mid-August I have been devoting most of my time to counting raptors at Wildcat Ridge in Hibernia Morris County but my heart still favors Lenape Park. 

There were a few surprises and one of them was a common park bird but in rather large numbers. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers are still around and White-throated Sparrows have arrived. Northern Flicker and American Goldfinch (in winter plumage) and blue Jays are also gathering.

The Bird of the Day is the Yellow-rumped Warbler, and in great numbers, too. “Rumps” may stay throughout the winter but now is the time to see lots of them.

Area Birds of Interest

  • Yellow-rumped Warbler  35
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  3
  • White-throated Sparrow  5
  • Blue Jay  10
  • American Crow  5
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker  4
  • Northern Flicker  3
  • Northern Cardinal  1
  • White-breasted Nuthatch  4
  • Wood Duck  4
  •  Great Blue Heron  2
June 18, 2016
  • Location: Lenape Park, Cranford, Union County, NJ
  • Day/Date: Saturday, 18-June-16
  • Time: 0800 to 0930
  • Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
  • Observer: Janet T.
  • Weather: Blue Cloudless Sky
  • Temperature Range: 62º to 80º F
  • Wind: W, Calm
  • Route: Main Parking Lot to Westfield Ponds

Perfect weather to be afield looking for birds. Lots of young nestlings call from beyond the tree line. The birds are a little harder to locate but if your ears can distinguish the various calls you will be able to appreciate the variety of birds that nest in the park.

American Robin, Red-winged Blackbird, and Common Grackle are the usual summer residents but we did have two warblers (Common Yellowthroat and Yellow) and both the Baltimore and Orchard Oriole were high in the trees most likely feeding their young. They were spotted in the area of Kiosk # 2 along the bike path.

The trail into the inside pond produced both a Carolina and House Wren and the call of today’s Bird of the Day. Nesting Tree and Barn Swallows are still caring for their nestlings and two Northern Rough-winged Swallows were spotted at the Westfield Pond.

Our Bird of the Day was a calling Pileated Woodpecker in the area behind the inside pond.

Field Notes: The recent Union County BioBlitz was held at Kawameeh Park in Union on Friday & Saturday, June 10 and 11. For those who missed the event I can only say it was a event well worth attending. A Black Bear was reported in the area but not seen by any of the BioBlitz participants.

Also, check out the attachment of newly hatched Tree Swallow young photographed on Wednesday, June 15. Several of the Tree Swallow nests have fledged but 4 nestlings were found dead in their nest. Now if only the bluebirds would return to the nestboxes.

Area Birds of Interest

  • Pileated Woodpecker  1
  • Downy Woodpecker  1
  • Northern Flicker  2
  •  Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
  • Tree Swallow  20
  • Barn Swallow  15
  • Northern Rough-winged Swallow  2
  • Yellow Warbler  5
  • Common Yellowthroat  2
  • Warbling Vireo  2
  • Baltimore Oriole  2
  • Orchard Oriole  1
  • Northern Catbird  4
  • White-breasted Nuthatch  2
  • Brown-headed Cowbird  2
  • Blue jay  2
  •  American Crow  2
  • Eastern Kingbird  1
  • Carolina Wren  2
  • House Wren  1
  • Song Sparrow  2
  • Great Egret 1
  • green heron  1
May 7th
  • Location: Lenape Park, Cranford, Union County, NJ
  • Day/Date: Saturday, 7-May-16
  • Time: 1100 to 1230
  • Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
  • Weather: Overcast (100%) with Occasional Light Drizzle
  • Temperature: 52º F
  • Wind: NE at 5 mph
  • Walking Route: Parking Lot to Westfield Pond

This past week has kept me and the birds away from the park. Playing “Dodge Ball” with the rain has been a challenge for sure. By mid morning the rain had mostly stopped and the birds were taking advantage of the situation. The swallows were swooping overhead chasing newly hatched insects. Tree, Barn, and rough-winged plus a good number of Chimney Swifts were in a feeding frenzy. They could be seen over the Westfield pond and the nestbox fields, too. Two nestboxes have Tree Swallow eggs.

The Bird of the Day was singing its continuous melody from the trees at the entrance pond. While difficult to see, the song is unmistakable. Another new arrival included Baltimore Oriole. As for that continuous (warbling) melody it belongs to a Warbling Vireo.

Field Notes: The New Jersey Audubon Society’s World Series of Birding is on Saturday, May 14, 2016. The Friends of Lenape Park will once again be fielding is world famous Lenape Park Nighthawks team. We are once again asking for your support to make a pledge to raise funds for this great cause. You can donate on line at the below web site or mail a check directly to me, Payable to NJAS-WSB and mail it to me at: 173 Carolyn Road, Union, NJ 07083-9424 and I will forward your check to New Jersey Audubon. Either way you will be supporting birding in New Jersey.

World Series of Birding 2016

Area Birds of Interest

  • Warbling Vireo  3
  • Tree Swallow  20
  • Barn Swallow  15
  • Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1
  • Chimney Swift  25
  • American Crow  2
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker  3
  •  Northern Flicker  2
  • Gray Catbird  2
  • Tufted Titmouse  2
  • Northern Cardinal  3
  • Carolina Wren  1
  • Baltimore Oriole  2
  • Killdeer  1
  • Great Blue Heron 1
  • Great Egret  1
  • Red-tailed Hawk  1
29112faad3c2c7f6f31cda95ae5f89f5
  • Location: Lenape Park, Cranford, Union County, NJ
  • Day/Date: Saturday, 30-April-16
  • Time: 0800 to 1000
  • Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
  • Observer: Simon S.
  • Weather: Mostly to Partly Cloudy
  • Temperature Range: 48º to 54º F
  • Wind: N, 2 to 5 mph
  • Walking Route: Parking Lot to Westfield Pond

Nice to get back on the trails at Lenape after what seemed like forever. The trees are leafing out which makes spotting birds just a little harder. Today was no exception to that rule; lots of new bird calls but oh so hard to spot. The Bird of the Day was just one of those heard but not seen birds but its familiar call (wichety, wichety, wichety) tweaked a few old brain cell in my head so I could identify this little guy.

Some of the summer birds are now back such as the Gray Catbird, Northern Flicker, Yellow Warbler. The first bird of the day was a Red-tailed Hawk circling high above the former Trap & Skeet range field along with 2 Killdeer. American Goldfinch are also in good numbers now all dressed up in their bright yellow and black plumage.

Activity in the nestboxes is about to se there first Tree Swallow eggs very soon.

I almost forgot, that “wichety” bird is the Common Yellowthroat Warbler.

Field Notes: The newly constructed Bird Blind, located in the northeast corner of the Trap & Skeet field is completed and ready for use. Give those Union County workers a few hand claps. Also, on Saturday, may 14, 2016 the Friends of Lenape Park Nighthawks birding team will be at the park participating in the 33rd annual New Jersey Audubon Society’s World Series of Birding (WSB). After a low total year last year (70 species) we are hoping to record 100 species this year. If you would like to make a pledge for our team check out the WSB web site. The team should be listed sometime this coming week. Pledge on line or send your donation to me payable to NJAS-WSB.  

World Series of Birding

Area Birds of Interest

  • Common Yellowthroat Warbler  2
  • Yellow Warbler  8
  • Tree Swallow  20
  • Barn Swallow  10
  • Killdeer  2
  • American Goldfinch  5
  • American Robin  25
  • Northern Cardinal  4
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker  5
  • Northern Flicker  3
  • Downy Woodpecker  1
  • Carolina Wren  1
  • Gray Catbird  2
  • American Crow  2
  • Blue Jay  5
  • Red-tailed Hawk 1
29112faad3c2c7f6f31cda95ae5f89f5

Lenape Park, Cranford

29112faad3c2c7f6f31cda95ae5f89f5
Time: 0830 to 0930
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Weather: Clear Blue Cloudless Sky
Temperature: 55º F
Wind: W, Light

Area Birded: Main parking Lot and Surrounding Fields

It’s been few weeks since my last report. All the nestboxs have been cleaned and made ready for the nesting season. My visit today was to check for any nesting birds and see if there were any newly arrived migrating birds. Both endeavors successful and a newly arrived bird became the Bird of the Day.

Several of the boxes have Tree Swallow starter nests in them. It’s a little early for any eggs but they should appear within a week or two. Let’s hope a Bluebird finds a suitable box to raise its young. The Bird of the Day is a Chipping Sparrow.

Field Notes: The Union County parks Department is re-building the Wildlife Blind, located at the northeast corner of the former Skeet & Trap Range field. Construction should be completed by the end of the week. From what I saw they are doing an outstanding job.

Also, the World Series of Birding is just a few weeks away and the Leanpe Park Nighthawks will once again be participating. I will be sending our team application in soon and if you would like to support our team just go to the web site a donate on line once out team is registered.

The Bird of the Day was a flock of 5 Double-crested Cormorants that flew over the inside pond heading NE.

Chipping Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 4
White-throated Sparrow 2
American Robin 25
Red-bellied Woodpecker 4
Northern Flicker 4
Northern Cardinal 2
Carolina Wren 2
Blue Jay 10
American Crow 2
0225160849aRAHWAY RIVER
Lenape Park, Cranford
Time: 0800 to 0945
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Observer: Simon R.
Weather: Partly to Mostly Cloudy
Temperature: 48º F
Wind: SSW, 5 mph.
Walking Route: Parking Lot to Westfield Pond

Lots of bird call now that spring is finally here. For you “Ear Birders” it’s a good time to be in the woods to hear some unusual sounds of some familiar birds. Blue Jay calls come to mind since they are being very vocal at this time.

A newly arrived species flew over the inside pond at the Westfield end of the park and it is today’s “Bird of the Day.” Tree Swallows are beginning to perch on many of the nestboxes but I am still holding out for our first Eastern Bluebird to take up residences this year. American Robin and Red-winged Blackbird numbers are increasing and my all time favorite, Carolina Wren, was calling from the tree line near Kiosk # 2.

The Bird of the Day was a flock of 5 Double-crested Cormorants that flew over the inside pond heading NE.

Double-crested Cormorant  5
Tree Swallow  10
American Robin  35
Red-winged Blackbird 25
American Crow  4
Northern Cardinal  5
Blue Jay  5
White-throated Sparrow  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  4
Downy Woodpecker  1
 Song Sparrow  3
Tufted Titmouse  1
Wood Duck  4
March 24th

Lenape Park, Cranford

Time: 0800 to 1100
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Observers: Ed Z., Simon R.
Weather: Clear with Scattered Clouds
Temperature Range: 46º to 50º F
Wind: NNE 5 to 10 mph.
Walking Route: Parking Lot to Westfield Ponds

An almost perfect day to be afield looking for a few good early spring arriving birds. We found one and it’s a toss up between it and a much larger bird that is more impressive. More on that later. American Robin are everywhere and we even saw a few Wood Duck that have been in hiding most of the winter. My first choice for Bird of the Day (two of them in fact) was spotted in Woodpecker Woods.

A Red-tailed Hawk flushed while observing the aforementioned bird and a short time later a second Red-tailed flew over with a mouse in its bill. The little ground critters are out and about and the hawks are taking advantage of the abundance a newly found food source.

On the trail leading into the woods behind the outside Westfield pond we spotted a second possible choice for Bird of the Day. The little yellow fellow is our winner mostly because it is a new arrival. A Belted Kingfisher was also spotted around the [ponds.

Now the Bird of the Day is the first observed early spring bird. A lone Female Yellow Warbler was hopping from branch to branch along the far side of the Nomahegan Brook. It’s most likely the first arriving spring warbler. Now the other choice for Bird of the Day is significant for two reasons. first, it was a Life Bird for Simon and second, it was the first sighting in several months of a Pileated Woodpecker. Seeing a life bird is exciting but to be with someone who is seeing the bird for the first time is something special. Think about taking someone (a young child comes to mind) out birding soon and experience seeing their excitement when seeing a bird for the first time.

Yellow Warbler  1
Pileated Woodpecker  2
Downy Woodpecker  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  5
Northern Flicker  2
Tree Swallow  5
Dark-eyed Junco  1
American Robin  35
Tufted Titmouse  4
Blue Jay  6
American Crow  4
Belted Kingfisher  1
Carolina Wren  2
Northern Cardinal  5
Song Sparrow  5
White-throated Sparrow  4
Turkey Vulture  1
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Wood Duck 6
March 10th to March 16th
Lenape Park, Cranford
8:00 am to 10:30 am
 
 
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Weather: Clear to Partly Cloudy
Temperature: 63º to 70º F
Wind: West, Light
Walk Route: Parking Lot to Westfield Ponds

It’s not quite Spring but the temperature sure feels like it. Nice to get back into the field with good friends and do some birding. Lots of American Robin everywhere. My favorite bird, Carolina Wren, seemed to be calling from every location we stopped at to observe a bird or two.

The Bird of the Day was a toss up between a new arrival that nests in the park and a “common” bird that is seen infrequently in and around Lenape Park. I chose the latter even though the first name is “common”. More on that later. 

We spotted four Wood Duck flying off the inside pond but not before seeing the Bird of the Day being chased by two American Crow. The much larger of the black corvidae species, a Common Raven has the honors as today’s Bird of the Day. The other bird considered of the honor was our first sighting of the season of a Tree Swallow.

As for that Bird of the Day it was a Carolina Wren.

Field Notes: On Tuesday March 15 and again on Tuesday, March , 2016 two of Lenape Park’s better birders will conduct a Woodcock Trail Walk in cooperation with the Union County Division of parks and Recreation. Starting time is 6:30 PM. If you have never seen or heard a Woodcock this is your opportunity to view this unique bird. E-mail bkelly@ucnj.org to register. Also, a daytime clean up for fishing line is being scheduled. If interested, e-mail the aforementioned e-mail address for details. This is a vital program to rid the area around the ponds of fishing line that has seen several wading birds (Great Blue Heron & Green Heron) tangled in discarded fishing line.

Common Raven  1 
Tree Swallow  1
American Robin  50
Red-bellied Woodpecker  4
Carolina Wren 4
Tufted Titmouse 3
Blue Jay 5
American Crow 2
Fish Crow 1
Red-winged Blackbird 20
Turkey Vulture 1
Wood Duck 4
Week of February 26th, 2016
Lenape Park, Cranford
9:00 am to 11:00 am
0225160849aRAHWAY RIVER
 
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Weather: 100% Cloud Cover with Occasional Drizzle
Temperature: 52º F
Wind: WSW, Gusting to 20 mph
Walk Route: Greenway Bike Trail East End of Park

Blustery winds and high water levels from overnight rain storm kept most birds deep in the woods and out of sight. Except for large mixed flocks of Common Grackle and Brown-headed Cowbird with a few Red-winged Blackbirds, most of the sightings were by ear. That was especially true for the bird of the Day in the area of the ¾ mile marker. This bird is an all time favorite of mine.

Two Red-tailed Hawks and a Turkey Vulture were the first birds of the day circling over the former Trap & Skeet field and parking lot. Large flocks of Canada Geese flying overhead and swimming in the flooded areas around the main parking lot. We did hear White-breasted Nuthatch and Tufted Titmouse at sewer right-of-way and a few House Finch.

As for that Bird of the Day it was a Carolina Wren.

Field Notes: One of the regular dog walkers reported seeing American Woodcock along the back trail. They must be early arrivals so keep your eyes open for them especially around dusk. There will be a Woodcoch Trail Walk at the park on March 15 & 22, from 6:30 PM to 8:15 PM. e-mail bkelly@ucnj.org for reservations. See attachment of flooding conditions at the park. The image is looking east toward the Rahway River behind the dam. Also, the memorial Hard Hat that was attached to a tree just past the 1 mile marker has been removed. This memorial was in memory of a construction worker who lost his life while driving a machine at that location during the construction of the bike trail.

Carolina Wren 1
Common Grackle 200
Brown-headed Cowbird 50
Red-winged Blackbird 25
Red-winged Blackbird 25
Blue Jay 5
American Crow 1
Dark-eyed Junco 5
House Finch 5
Tufted Titmouse 3
White-breasted Titmouse 2
American Robin 5

Canada Goose 200
Turkey Vulture 1
Red-tailed Hawk 2

Week of February 18th, 2016
Lenape Park, Cranford
9:00 am to 10:30 am
 
 
American Robin (photo from William H. Majoros)

American Robin (photo from William H. Majoros)

 
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Weather: Clear, Blue Cloudless Sky
Temperature: 28º F
Wind: WNW, 5 to 10 mph.
Walk Route: East Coast Bike Trail, Kenilworth End of Park

It’s been awhile since I hiked the park but today seemed like a fine day to explore the path less taken. birds were few and far between but not without a few surprises. The Bird of the Day, while common but scarce in winter, was a lone individual. It reminded me spring isn’t too far off.

A large flock of Canada Geese were in the river behind the dam and a flock of Common Grackle was feeding in a wooded area near the half mile marker along the bike trail. Lost of Dark-eyed Junco along the trail and several Tufted Titmice were in the trees at the bridge over the Black Brook at the 1¼ mile marker.

On my walk back I met up with Flo and Nick (these are the folks who maintain the white trash bags along the trail) and we spotted an immature Cooper’s Hawk perched on a low branch about 50′ in off the pathway. An unknown bird was on the opposite side of the trail sounding the alarm of the nearby danger.

That Bird of the Day was none other than a lone American Robin moving about the leaf litter at the ½ mile marker. 

Field Notes: A final word about Flo and Nick. They are one of the many unsung volunteers who help to make Union County parks just a little nicer for us all to enjoy. Please help by not discarding trash in the parks and maybe every now and again pick up any trash you see along the way and properly dispose of in a trash container. believe me, you will feel a little bit better about “Our” county parks.

American Robin  1
Blue Jay  10
Northern Cardinal  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  3
Dark-eyed Junco  5
Tufted Titmouse  4
Northern Mockingbird  1
Black-capped Chickadee  1
Common Grackle  200
Mallard Duck  12
Canada Goose  105
Cooper’s Hawk  1
Week of January 30th, 2016
Lenape Park, Cranford
8:00 am to 10:00 am

Pileated Woodpecker Photo by Sid Hamm

 
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Observers: Natalie G., Simon R., Janet T. & Ed Z.
Weather: Cold, but Clear with High Thin Scattered Clouds
Temperature:  25º F to 35º F | Wind: West, Light
Walk Route: Parking Lot/Westfield Ponds

The leftover accumulation of last weeks snow storm is still very much gripping the park with 10″ to 15″ of hard packed snow. The pathway to the Westfield ponds was rough under foot, hence the abbreviated short walk.

While specie numbers were few, we did record an un-seen but heard wonderful Bird of the Day at the conclusion of our walk. Song and White-throated Sparrow, and Junco numbers were significant as was a large flock of European Starling. Several Northern Flicker were sen and heard in the area of Woodpecker Woods (Kiosk # 2) as were several White-breasted Nuthatch. A small flock of Eastern Goldfinch were feeding on gumball trees in the same area, too. As for that Bird of the Day that was heard but not seen, a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers were drilling in the woods beyond the path toward the inside pond and the Cranford Swim Club. The sound is so distinctive that identification was not that difficult.

The deer hunt continues at the park for two (2) more weeks. February 1 & 8 are the last two days with Wednesdays being the alternate days. If you are in the park, please stay on the paved pathways to avoid any conflict.for information call (908) 527-4900 or e-mail, deer@ucnj.org. Also, go to www.ucnj.org/deer for additional information. Looking ahead, May 14, 2016 is the World Series of Birding. The Friends of Lenape Park Nighthawk team will once again be afield counting species at the park as part of New Jersey Audubon Society’s annual birding event. Now that’s only four (4) months away.

Week of January 5th, 2016
Lenape Park, Cranford
8:00 am to 10:00 am
Hawk - Photo courtset of James Ownby of Oklahoma
 
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Observers: Simon R. & Ed Z.
Weather: Very Cold with Clear Blue Sky
Temperature: 11º F Wind: W, Calm
Walk Route: Parking Lot/Westfield Ponds

The first outing of the New Year, and what a difference a week makes temperature wise. The ground was frozen beneath our feet and crackled with every step. All the ponds had a thin sheen of ice just enough to support a flock of Canada Geese on the Westfield pond. Our first bird became the Bird of the Day perched in a tree in Woodpecker Woods. Hidden in plain view if found a comfortable perch to catch the morning sun. Birds were few and far between but the familiar call of several Carolina Wrens (my all time favorite) could be heard through out the park.

Blue Jay activity was noticeable at every location along the walkway and we even saw a few American Robins. Several American Goldfinch were feeding on the remains of crab apples at the Westfield pond and a lone Great Blue Heron was perched on a low branch at the NW corner of the inside pond. The Bird of the Day was an adult Sharp-shinned Hawk. A common winter bird but one that hasn’t been sen very often so far this season.

Week of November 15th, 2015
 
Lenape Park, Cranford
8:00 am to 10:30 am
 
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Observers: Janet T. & Ed Z.
Weather: Cloudless Blue Sky
Temperature Range: 42º F to 48º F Wind: Light, WNW
Walking Route: Main Parking Lot to Westfield Ponds

Yes, I am back on the birding trail after a brief respite. The trees are just about devoid of their leaves and spotting those little brown birds has suddenly become easier. Speaking of little brown birds, this weeks Bird of the Day is one that is most often resides at the park during the winter but hard to spot. A low flying Sharp-shinned Hawk was one of the first birds spotted while we were drinking our coffee in the parking lot just before setting out for our walk. A few of the song birds were somewhat upset at its arrival but the hawk quickly vanished behind the tree line and into the interior of the park.

Tufted Titmice, American Goldfinch, Black-capped Chickadee, Dark-eyed Junco, white-throated and Song Sparrow can be seen throughout the park in good numbers. woodpeckers included, Northern Flicker, Downy Woodpecker and Red-bellied Woodpecker were spotted from the parking lot to the Westfield ponds. Carolina Wren calls could be heard along the way and along the Nomahegan Brook behind the ponds. The Pied-billed Grebe is still swimming in the outside pond with more and more Canada Geese.

The final bird of the day was a Belted Kingfisher calling from the area of the Rahway River dam and a Red-tailed Hawk. The Bird of the Day is a Brown Creeper, spotted just past Kiosk # 2 along the tree line on the north side of the dike.

Week of October 27th, 2016
 
Lenape Park, Cranford
8:00 am to 10:00 am
 
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Observer: Ed Z.
Weather: Partly to Mostly Cloudy
Temperature: 39º F to 45º F Wind: W, Calm
Walking Route: Parking Lot to Westfield Ponds

A little nip in the air as a reminder that Fall is here and Winter isn’t too far behind. The Bird of the Day is a reminder of that change, too. First birds of the day was a pair of Accipiter  hawks (Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s) flying over the former Trap & Skeet Range with the Sharpie chasing the Cooper’s. The both landed in a tree at the back of the range. Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks have been recording high numbers at NJ Hawk Watcher. See Hawkcount web site for numbers. You just might see more of them at your bird feeders this winter. 

American Robin, Blue Jay, Common Grackle and Red-winged Blackbird flocks are gathering along the woodland edges getting ready for a flight south. Some will remain and endure the winter to add some color the winter landscape.

At the Wildlife Garden by the Westfield Pond, a Northern Mockingbird was “singing”, which at this time of year is somewhat unusual. Also, a Belted Kingfisher was flying around the pond. The Bird of the Day (Pied-billed Grebe) was in the pond diving for a quick meal. It’s been in the park for a few day now and hopefully will hang around for a few weeks.

A Bald Eagle has been spotted several times around the ponds and at Echo Lake. This might be a good opportunity to see this magnificent raptor up close during the coming months.

Week of October 15th, 2015
 
Lenape Park, Cranford
8:00am to 10:00am
 
Official Counter: Frank V. Budney
Observer: Simon R.
Weather: Cool and Crisp with Clear Blue Sky
Temperature: 42º F to 54º F Wind: WNW, Variable
Walking Route: Parking Lot to Westfield Ponds

A perfect day to be walking in the great out doors. While the leaves haven’t quite begun to change into their fall colors the Fall and Winter birds are beginning to arrive while some summer time favorites have either left the area or are about to depart. The first bird spotted was a Eastern Phoebe, perched in a tree along the parking lot in a location usually occupied by Mourning doves. Lots of background noise from Red-winged Blackbirds could also be seen and heard, too. At the inside Westfield pond, a lone Belted Kingfisher was perched low in a tree overhanging the water and a Great Blue Heron was stalking the edge of the pond near the eastern edge by the spillway. Lots of activity around the main pond including Yellow-rumped Warbler, Gray Catbird, and several species of sparrows, including the Bird of the Day.

This past week, a Pied-billed Grebe had been spotted on the inside pond but not today. It’s earlyal foretells the coming of the winter birds so check the ponds for other arriving ducks and birds. The Bird (s)the Day is are a Chipping Sparrow and a White- throated Sparrow darting among the shrubs along the outside pond.

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