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Sommer Park Preserve, Hopewell, New Jersey


Winter 2006
Hannah Suthers

December was mild (20's at night, 40-50 during day), the warmest on record since 1895, with sparse precipitation. The first cold snap came on January 26 with a low of 8 and again on February 5 with a low of 6 degrees..Seasonable weather followed with three waves of snow/sleet/freezing rain in mid-to-end February, staying on the ground and driving birds to feeders.. Heavy mast crops in Canada are thought to be keeping the northern finches there; no Purple Finches, Redpolls nor Red-breasted Nuthatches at Featherbed Lane this year. There were 38 overwintering species. A surprise was a Chipping Sparrow in adult plumage seen 3 times in December. Astonishing were Black Vultlures coming in to deer carcasses: 44 on Dec 25, 17 on Jan 4, and 103 on Jan 7, arriving within an hour, in little groups soaring in from the West. How did they know? Highlights are as follows:

Black Vulturecited above
Turkey Vulturesdaily
Sharp-shinned Hawk15,16,17 Dec, 17 Feb
Red-tailed Hawkthroughout, immature 11 Jan
Great-horned OwlDec (2)
Downy, Hairy, Red-bellied, Pileated Woodpeckersthroughout
Common Flickerthroughout
Crows, Blue Jaysharassing a fox at deer remains
Black-capped Chickadee4 regulars (no invasion)
Carolina Chickadeethroughout (10)
Tufted Titmousethroughout (23)
White-breasted Nuthatchthroughout (12)
Carolina Wren throughoutlost some in cold snaps
N. Mockingbird throughout(2), survived cold snaps
E. Bluebird15 Dec (6), 19 Jan (pr), 5 Feb (pr), 17 Feb (pr)
Robinnorthern subspecies throughout (36) eating thawed crabapples
Cedar Waxwing18 Feb (15) eating thawed crabapples
N. Cardinalsthroughout (18)
Am. Tree Sparrow16 Dec (2), throughout Feb (2-3)
Chipping Sparrowcited above
Song Sparrowthroughout (3)
White-throated Sparrow & Juncoflocks throughout
Am. Goldfinchthroughout but sparse
House Finchthroughout, (4 pr)
Red-winged Blackbird24 Feb (4)
Brown-headed Cowbird19 Feb (2)
Common Grackle25 Feb (2)

Hannah Suthers and the Featherbed Lane Banding Station Crew  

Last revision: Sunday, April 27, 2008