Field Trips

Washington Crossing Audubon Society offers free field trips to birding hot spots

Experienced birders from WCAS lead regular birding field trips to some of the region’s top birding hotspots in Central New Jersey, the New Jersey shore, the Delaware Bay, Delaware Water Gap. and eastern Pennsylvania. Field trips are free and open to the public. Participants of all experience levels are welcome. If there are field trips you would like to see added to WCAS field trip offerings, please feel free to contact us.

If the trip is co-sponsored, please note the registration request in the trip description. In case of inclement weather, please check this website.

* PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED FOR ALL FIELD TRIPS

Trips are free, but participation may be limited to 15 participants. COVID state guidelines in place at the time of the trip will be followed.  Right now, masks are optional for those who are vaccinated, and we ask that you not participate if you are not feeling well on the day.  Group size may be limited, to ensure safety and a good birding experience for everyone. You will receive a sign-up confirmation and an additional message a day or two ahead of time to confirm the trip is a “go” or if a cancellation is necessary (e.g. inclement weather). Any questions please feel free to contact WCAS.

Sign up online for as many trips as you would like via Sign-Up Genius:

    Spring 2022 | April – June

    • *CANCELLED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER* Washington Crossing State Park A field walk on Sunday, April 3, at 1:30 PM led by Franta Broulik and Jim Myers. We will walk trails looking for early spring migrants and resident birds in wooded areas and adjacent fields.  PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. No walk-ons. 
    • Fireman’s Eddy (D&R Canal State Park) A field trip on Sunday, April 10 at 8:00 AM led by Juanita Hummel. This field, bisected by a row of trees and bounded by the canal and the Delaware River, was restored as native grasslands. The combination of wooded riparian habitat, edge habitat and meadows mean that a large variety of birds may be seen here, including early warblers, swallows, bluebirds, grassland sparrows, raptors and wood ducks. Co-sponsored by the D&R Canal State Park. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. No walk-ons. 
    • Mount Rose Preserve A field trip on Saturday, April 16 at 8:00 AM, led by WCAS and Beth Craighead of FoHVOS. Mount Rose Preserve consists of 387 acres of meadows, shrub land, and forest. On this walk we will be looking for a variety of early spring migrants. With the diversity of habitat, this is a naturalist’s treat. Co-sponsored by the Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. No walk-ons.
    • Institute Woods A field trip on Saturday, April 23 at 8:00 AM led by WCAS. The Institute Woods near the Institute for Advanced Study is an excellent place to observe the spring migration of warblers and other songbirds. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. No walk-ons.
    • Abbott Marshlands A field trip on Saturday, April 30 at 8:00AM, led by Brad Merritt, John Maret, and Mary Leck. Roebling Park is a Mercer County park adjacent to the Hamilton/Trenton marsh. We plan to walk the trails in search of spring migrants. For additional outings that complement WCAS, see abbottmarshlands.org. Co-sponsored with Friends for the Abbott Marshlands. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. No walk-ons.
    • *CANCELLED DUE TO NORTHEASTER* Institute Woods #2  A field trip on Saturday, May 7, at 8:00 AM, led by Winnie Spar, David Padulo and Brad Merritt. The Institute Woods near the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton is an excellent place to observe the spring migration of warblers and other songbirds. Directions: From Princeton take Alexander Street toward Route 1. At the bend before the canal turn right on West Drive. Go a short distance on West Drive and park near the entrance to Rogers Wildlife Refuge. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. No walk-ons.
    • ♥ ♥ ♥  Sunday May 8 and Saturday May 14 are Birdathon 2022 Special Events. See our Birdathon Page for guided walks through May 14. ♥ ♥ ♥
    • Whitesbog and Environs  A day-long field trip on Saturday May 21, 8:15 AM to ~2:30 pm, led by Brad Merritt and Mark Manning. Bring your lunch and spend a spring day exploring areas in and around Whitesbog, an Audubon-designated IBA (important bird area) in the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest, where over 200 species of birds have been recorded. The group will also be on the lookout for carnivorous plants, beautiful wildflowers and some of the special reptiles and amphibians that live in the Pinelands. Meet in the Whitesbog Village parking area near the general store. More information, an itinerary and directions to the meeting place will be provided to those who sign up. Limited to 12 participants. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. No walk-ons.
    • Delaware Water Gap  A field trip on Saturday May 28, at 9:00 AM led by Brad Merritt. Visit numerous sites in the Water Gap Area where you might see Cerulean, Blackburnian and Yellow-throated Warblers, among other species! Meet in the parking lot of the Kittatinny Point Visitors Center. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. No walk-ons.
    • Negri-Nepote Grassland Preserve  A field trip on Saturday, May 26, at 8:00 AM led by Sharyn Magee and Brad Merritt. This 164-acre property between Skillmans Lane to the east, Bennetts Lane to the north, and the Six Mile Run Reservoir site to the west and south, contains 111 acres of grassland and 53 acres of woodland, home to a variety of bird species. Directions: From Rte 206, take Rte 514 East (Amwell Rd). Turn right on Route 615 South (S.Middlebush Rd), then turn left on Skillmans Lane. Entrance off west side of Skillmans Lane. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. No walk-ons.
    • Washington Crossing State Park  A field trip on Sunday, June 5, at 8:30 AM, led by Franta Broulik, Jim Myers and Gretchen Buxton. We will walk the trails looking for late spring migrants and resident breeding birds in wooded areas as well as the adjacent meadows and grasslands. Directions: Off Washington Crossing–Pennington Road in Titusville. Follow signs to the Nature Center parking lot. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. No walk-ons.
    • Assunpink Wildlife Management Area A field trip on Saturday, June 11, at 8:00 AM, led by John Maret. We will look for resident breeding birds, such as blue grosbeaks, indigo buntings, orchard orioles and cedar waxwings, and butterflies as well. Directions: East on I-195 to exit 11, Imlaystown. North on Imlaystown Road 2.6 miles to parking area at Lake Assunpink. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. No walk-ons.
    • Cheesequake State Park A field trip on Sunday, June 12, 8:15 AM, led by Brad Merritt and Mark Manning. This 1600-acre state park in Matawan, NJ features a variety of ecosystems, including upland hardwood forest, pine barrens, a freshwater lake and saltwater marshes, habitats not often found in such proximity. This is a special opportunity to view not only birds but also a variety of other flora and fauna with special adaptations to salt marshes. With proper protection from biting insects and sun, this will be a unique and enjoyable experience. Meet in the Trailhead Parking area – first lot on the left as you enter the park. There is a weekend entry fee of $10/car for NJ residents, $20 for nonresidents, or use your NJ State Park pass. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. No walk-ons.
    • Mercer Meadows Pole Farm A field trip on Saturday, June 18, at 8:00 AM, led by Sharyn Magee. Known for years as the AT&T Overseas Transmission Station, it is now preserved and more familiarly called The Pole Farm, with woods and large areas of fields and meadows managed for grassland birds and butterflies. Meet in the parking lot by the barn at the confluence of Keefe Rd and Cold Soil Rd. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. No walk-ons.
    • Abbott Marshlands A free field trip on Saturday June 18 at 8:30 AM led by Mark Manning and co-sponsored by Friends for the Abbott Marshlands. Learn more about the fascinating human and natural history of the Marsh and the birds, plants and herps that live there today. There will be a special focus on odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) on this trip! Meet in the Spring Lake parking lot which you access by a left turn at the end of Sewell Ave (there is a sign) in Hamilton and drive down to the parking lot. Program is free but registration is required at https://bit.ly/3K6NlWX  PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. No walk-ons.

    We are looking for additional team leaders—naturalists who can head out into the field and lead a small group of members and friends around your favorite natural location(s). We’ll help coordinate your team and support donation collection. If you would like to volunteer or lead a team, please email Juanita Hummel at [email protected]

    Vsit our birding “Hot Spots” page for a map of local hot spots. 

    Co-sponsored with the Watershed Institute

    The Watershed Institute Reserve – Woodcock Watch – a field trip on Thursday, February 24 from 6:00 – 6:45 PM sharp.

    Join WCAS board member Jeff Hoagland at dusk as we watch and listen for the spring courtship dance of the returning woodcock. Discover the fascinating life of this harbinger of spring, also known as the timberdoodle. On this short, potentially muddy hike, we seek to observe that first dense wave of woodcocks as they migrate northward. Minimum age 10 years. This family walk is cosponsored by the Watershed Institute and PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED  

    *FULL* Early Spring Birds of the Watershed Reserve – a field trip on Sunday, March 27 at 8:30 AM led by WCAS board member Jeff Hoagland.

    We will explore the Watershed Reserve’s various habitats accompanied by the din of courting frogs, meeting resident birds and seeking early spring migrants. Our walk will include field, forest, marsh and stream where we will observe the courtship behaviors of a variety of birds. No walk-ons. PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. At present, this event is full. Please check back periodically for potential openings or contact The Watershed Institute for further assistance.

    These are FREE events for ages 10 and up. A small number of binoculars will be available to borrow for most trips — please indicate this need when registering. PLEASE NOTE A parent or legal guardian is required to attend with all children under the age of 18. We require 1 adult to attend with every 3 children. If you plan to bring more than 3 children, another adult must attend. Please register with the Watershed since space is limited.

    Photos © Tony Singleton
    Field trip leader Brad Merritt (middle) © Tyler Christensen
    Birding Baldpate Summit © Diana Hayes
    Birding Baldpate Summit © Diana Hayes

    Check our event calendar below for individual program details. If there are field trips you would like to see added to WCAS field trip offerings, please feel free to contact us.

    All photos except where noted above © Tyler Christensen except lower right © Diana Hayes.

    Pole Farm at Mercer Meadows at corner of Cold Soil and Keefe Rds.

    Known now as the “Red Barn” entrance at Cold Soil & Keefe Rds. Most birders enter Pole Farm from both this corner or Federal City Rd. entrance aka Reed/Bryan Farm. Can also park at Maidenhead Trail entrance on Keefe Rd. or at Blackwell Rd. entrance.
    GPS: 40.312911, -74.737523

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Deer management in winter

    Baldpate Mountain, Fiddler's Creek Entrance

    Fiddler’s Creek Entrance Parking lot for birding the Summit Trail (blue) and driveway on the left
    Mercer County Website lists address as 327 Fiddlers Creek Road, Titusville, NJ 08560
    Baldpate formerly known as Kuser Mountain
    GPS: 40.317418, -74.889530

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Check for Deer Management closing dates in winter

    Abbott Marshlands

    Abbott Marshlands formerly Hamilton- Trenton – Bordentown Marsh

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Use Sewell Avenue entrance to Roebling Park section of the Abbott Marshlands and park by Spring Lake. Be mindful that this natural area is located in an urban setting. Use caution when visiting. Don’t leave your camera or valuables lying about. Report any suspicious behavior to the Hamilton (609-581-4000) or Bordentown Township (609- 298-2800) Police. In an emergency, call 911.

    GPS Coordinates: N40 11.714 W74 43.923  

    Baldpate Mtn., Pleasant Valley Rd. entrance

    Pleasant Valley Rd. entrance to Ted Stiles Perserve at Baldpate Mountain formerly known as Kuser Mountain
    40.330450, -74.871657

    Rogers Wildllife Refuge next to Institute Woods

    Charles Rogers Wildlife Refuge entrance to Institute Woods, Princeton

    Directions: From Princeton take Alexander Street toward Route 1. At the bend before the canal turn right on West Drive. Go a short distance on West Drive and park near the entrance to Rogers Wildlife Refuge.

    GPS:
    40°19’38.5″N 74°39’33.6″W
    40.327353, -74.659342

    Pole Farm Federal City Rd./Reed Bryan entrance

    Reed Bryan section of the Pole Farm at Mercer Meadows also known as Federal City entrance with gray barn and “Last pole standing.”
    GPS: 40.316586,-74.758068

    St. Michaels Preserve

    St. Michaels Preserve, Princeton Ave. aka Carter Road entrance.

    Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association

    Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association

    GPS:
    40°21’06.3″N 74°46’21.3″W
    40.351751, -74.772571

    Mercer County Park

    West Windsor

    Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve

    Caution: Hunting in Fall

    Washington Crossing State Park Nature Center

    Washington Crossing State Park Nature Center
    355 Washington Crossing Pennington Rd, Titusville, NJ 08560, USA

    GPS:
    40°18’49.5″N 74°51’46.6″W
    40.3137529, 
    -74.86295740000003

    Assunpink Wildlife Management Area

    Assunpink Wildlife Management Area Boat Launch parking lot
    Intersection of Imlaystown-Hightstown Rd & Clarksburg-Robbinsville Rd, Millstone, NJ 08535, USA
    Directions: East on I-195 to exit 11, Imlaystown. North on Imlaystown Road 2.6 miles to parking area at Lake Assunpink.

    GPS:
    40°12’54.9″N 74°31’00.7″W
    40.215254, -74.516866

    Cumberland County Heislerville WMA

    Heislerville Wildlife Management Area in Maurice River Twp., Cumberland County, NJ
    Dikes on Matts Landing Rd, Leesburg, NJ 08327, USA

    GPS:
    39°14’02.9″N 75°01’34.5″W
    39.234133, -75.026264

    Peace Valley Nature Center

    Peace Valley Nature Center
    42-64 N Chapman Rd, Doylestown, PA 18901, USA

    GPS:
    40°20’23.8″N 75°10’16.2″W
    40.339942, -75.171179

    Mt. Rose Preserve

    Mount Rose Preserve, Carter Rd., Hopewell Township, NJ 08540, USA
    Please confirm parking on west or east side of Carter Rd.

    GPS:
    40°21’41.4″N 74°44’15.4″W
    40.361489, -74.737621

    Garret Mountain Reservation

    Garret Mountain Reservation
    2 Mountain Ave, Woodland Park, NJ 07424, USA  (near Patterson)

    Directions: Take I-287 to I-80. Go east to exit 56A (Squirrelwood Road). Go to the stop sign and turn right on Rifle Camp Road. Go up the hill about 0.5 miles to Mountain Ave., which comes in from the left. Turn left on Mountain Ave. (look for army tank and reservoir on the left) and go 0.3 miles to the entrance to Garret Mountain Reservation. Go right up the hill for a short distance to a large parking area. The distance from Somerville on I-287 and I-80 to exit 56A is 40 miles.

    GPS:
    40°54’08.5″N 74°10’54.5″W
    40.902367, -74.181791

    Round Valley Reservoir Boat Launch

    Round Valley Reservoir Boat Launch
    County Rd 629, Lebanon, NJ 08833, USA

    GPS:
    40°37’54.9″N 74°50’57.5″W
    40.631908, -74.849302

    Pryde's Point Trail

    Pryde’s Point Trail Conservation easement area is adjacent to the Alexauken Creek Wildlife Management Area. It has a wonderful wooded area with vistas of Hunterdon County. The terrain is steep in spots but allows for a leisurely walk to experience a remote area of West Amwell.

    Park on 23 Gulick Rd., Ringoes, NJ:
    https://goo.gl/maps/D3jcGqNVTSP2

    GPS: 40.407954, -74.870407

    Don’t park at the WMA entrance for Pond Trail on Rocktown-Lambertville Rd. Pryde’s Point Trail map on NJ Trails website: http://njtrails.org/trail/prydes-point-alexauken-creek/