Field Trips

Field Trip Institute Woods

Field Trips to local birding “Hot Spots” and beyond

Experienced birders from WCAS lead regular birding field trip to some of the region’s top birding hotspots in Central New Jersey, the Delaware Water Gap, Delaware Bay, the New Jersey shore, and eastern Pennsylvania. Field trips are free, open to the public, and most require no advance registration. 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.

For more field trip information, contact our Field Trip Chair, Brad Merritt, 609-921-8964. If the trip is co-sponsored, please note the registration request in the trip description. In case of inclement weather, please check this website or contact Brad for field trip cancellation updates by 10:00 p.m. the night before.

Check our Event Calendar below for details and contact information

  • Edwin Forsythe NWR (Brigantine)  A field trip on Saturday, September 9, at 9:00 am led by Brad Merritt. We start our fall field trip season at the fascinating location of Brigantine, located off Rt. 9 in Oceanville. The Brig offers great viewing access to migrating shore birds, terns, raptors, waterfowl, herons and egrets. The occasional uncommon bird is always a possibility! For more info, call Brad Merritt 609-921-8964. Directions: Garden State Parkway south to exit 48, Rte. 9 south for approx. 5 miles. Look for Brig Forsythe NWR sign at light. Turn left onto Great Creek Road and meet in the Visitor Center parking area.
  • Bird Banding at Featherbed Lane  A field trip on Sunday, September 17, at 8:00 am led by Mark Witmer and Hannah SuthersRegistration is required and limited to 12 persons. Contact Brad Merritt, 609-921-8964. To experience the excitement of seeing beautiful birds, such as Black-throated Blue or Magnolia Warblers, in the hand, join us for this unique field trip. This trip will expose you to the ongoing research conducted by Hannah Suthers and her volunteers during fall migration. For over 40 years, Hannah has been banding on this site during the nesting season through fall migration and has documented the progression of habitat from fields to forest. You’ll see the entire process of bird banding, learn about the data collected, and find out more about the common birds you see daily. As time permits, we will also explore the wooded habitat for other migrants. Directions: Registered participants will meet at Featherbed Lane. From Rt. 518 in Hopewell, head north on Greenwood Avenue. In approximately 1.5 miles, turn right onto Featherbed Lane, continue 0.5 miles to the banding area, and park along the right side.
  • Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed | Family Botany  An event on Saturday, September 23 at 10:00-11:30 am. Meander through field and forest on the Watershed Reserve to discover our fascinating plant neighbors. Learn basic identification skills and browse through our favorite field guides. This is a great introduction to exploring the secret lives plants. Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Reserve, 31 Titus Mill Road, Pennington. Register with SBMWA, call 609-737-7592. Co-sponsored with Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Reserve.
  • St. Michael’s Farm Preserve, Hopewell  A field trip on Saturday, September 23, at 8:00 am led by Juanita Hummel and Brad Merritt. Join us in exploring the St. Michael’s Farm Preserve for fall migrants such as sparrows, raptors and other passerines associated with open space. This is an excellent place and time for a fall nature walk. For more info, call Brad Merritt, 609-921-8964. Directions: From Rosedale Road, turn right on Carter Road and continue four miles to find parking lot on the right just before entering Hopewell Borough. From 206, go west on Route 518, continue six miles to Princeton Avenue in Hopewell Borough. Turn left onto Princeton Ave. and continue .5 mile east; the main parking lot is on the left.
  • Friends for the Abbott Marshlands World Rivers Day on the Delaware River  A field event on Sunday, September 24, time TBA.  Discover the Delaware River, Delaware & Raritan Canal and Abbott Marshlands from the Light Rail with railroad historian, John Kilbride. This trip will highlight the value of our rivers through travel along the Delaware River rail. Pre-register with info@abbottmarshlands.org using subject line, “World Rivers Day.” Meet at the Bordentown RiverLINE light rail station. See www.abbottmarshlands.org for more details.  Co-sponsored with Friends for the Abbott Marshlands.
  • Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve   A field trip on Saturday, September 30, at 8:00 am led by Brad Merritt. The Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve, 164 acres of grasslands and woodlands in Somerset Co., is home to sensitive species, including the Grasshopper Sparrow, Cooper’s Hawk, American Kestrel (NJ State threatened species), and Eastern Meadowlark (NJ State special concern species). With a variety of bird houses located throughout, we have opportunities to view American Kestrels, Wood Ducks, Bluebirds and Purple Martins. Directions: From 206 at Woods Tavern take 514 East (Amwell Road). From South Middlebush Road, turn onto Skillmans Lane. Entrance on west side of Skillmans Lane, between the two 90-degree curves.
  • Birds of Mercer County Park Central  A field trip on Saturday, October 7, at 8:00 am led by Andrew Bobe and Brad Merritt. Mercer County Park Central is a 2,500-acre public park with fields, forests, and a 300-acre freshwater lake. We will walk for two to three hours along Lake Mercer. Bring binoculars and a field guide, and dress for the weather. Directions: Enter park from Hughes Drive or Old Trenton Road (Route 535). Meet at the boathouse parking lot. For more information, contact Brad Merritt at 609-921-8964.
  • Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed | Watershed to Watershed Bike Tour   An event on Saturday, October 7, at 9:00 am – noon. Explore the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT) by bike as part of the River Days celebration sponsored by the William Penn Foundation. We will bike the LHT to Lawrenceville and back and find the dividing line between the Delaware and Millstone River watersheds, enjoying a variety of natural habitats along the way. Meet at Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Reserve, 31 Titus Mill Road, Pennington. Registration required with SBMWA; call 609-737-7592 or pheaney@thewatershed.org. Lunch provided. Co-sponsored with Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Reserve.
  • Fiddler’s Creek Preserve at Baldpate Mountain  A field trip on Saturday, October 14, at 8:00 am led by Sharyn Magee and Tyler Christensen. Fiddler’s Creek Preserve is the old Hollystone Farm across Fiddler’s Creek Road from Baldpate Mountain. The main field and hedgerows support numerous species of sparrows during fall migration, making the reserve a hot spot. Directions: From Pennington, go west on Pennington- Titusville Rd and turn right on Bear Tavern Road (Route 579.) Take the first left onto Church Road; then turn right onto Fiddler’s Creek Road. Continue 1.3 miles to the main Baldpate Mountain Preserve parking lot on your right. We will meet here and walk across the road to the Fiddler’s Creek Preserve.
  • Cold Brook Reserve  A field trip on Saturday, October 21, at 8:00 am led by Brad Merritt. Cold Brook Reserve, 180 acres of Hunterdon County parkland, is a great place to observe fall migrants, especially sparrows and other grassland birds. Directions: From I-78 East, take exit 24, Oldwick, and proceed north on Route 523 towards Oldwick. Continue straight on Route 517 when Route 523 turns to the right. After passing through the center of Oldwick, the park entrance will be on the left. A gravel parking lot is located on the right side of the driveway. For more information, contact Brad Merritt 609- 921-8964.
  • Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed | Habitat Photo Challenge  An event on Saturday, October 21, at 10:00-11:30 am. Sharpen your observation skills and discover the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of habitats on this exciting photo challenge and game. Expand your habitat knowledge by changing perspective and point of view. Use our vintage Polaroid cameras and/or your own camera/phone in this unique program. Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Reserve, 31 Titus Mill Road, Pennington. Registration required with SBMWA; call 609-737-7592 or pheaney@thewatershed.org. Co-sponsored with Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Reserve.
  • Mount Rose Preserve  A field trip on Saturday, October 28, at 8:00 am led by Juanita Hummel and Sharyn Magee. Mount Rose Preserve consists of 387 acres of meadows, shrub land, and forest. On this walk we will be looking for a variety of late fall migrants. With the diversity of habitat, this should be a naturalist’s treat. Directions: From Rosedale Road, turn right on Carter Road and continue approx. 3/4 mile. Entrance to preserve is on the left. Drive back to parking lot. For more information, contact Brad Merritt at 609-921-8964.
  • Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed | Your Wildlife Neighbors  An event on Saturday, November 4, at 10:00-11:30 am. Explore techniques to invite desirable critters to your yard, as well as keeping others out of your garden. In the end, children will make a birdfeeder from recycled materials. Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Reserve, 31 Titus Mill Road, Pennington. Registration required with SBMWA; call 609-737-7592 or pheaney@thewatershed.org. Co-sponsored with Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Reserve.
  • Abbott Marshlands: Marsh Clean-up  An event on Saturday, November 4, at 9:00 am. Bring gloves, boots, water to drink, wear long sleeves, long pants. Meet at Spring Lake–Roebling Park, Hamilton, NJ. See www.abbottmarshlands.org. Co-sponsored with AmeriCorps Watershed Ambassador Program, Friends Abbott Marshlands, Tulpehaking Nature Center.
  • Birds of Shark River  A field trip on Saturday, November 11, at 9:00 am  led by Brad Merritt and Andrew Bobe. Migratory birds from northern climates more frigid than New Jersey’s head our way to spend the winter in the warmer, open, and fish-filled waters they find here. A good opportunity to see winter arrivals as they add beauty and interest to the fresh, brackish, and salt waters along the Jersey shore. Directions: Take I-295 to I-195 to Route 35 in Belmar. Meet at Marina in Belmar. Bring lunch and beverage, dress for the weather. For more information, contact Brad Merritt at 609-921-8964.
  • Assiscong Marsh, Hunterdon County  A field trip on Saturday, November 18, at 8:00 am led by Brad Merritt and Juanita Hummel. Join us as we explore the Assiscong Marsh, which attracts and supports migratory and resident waterfowl that use it as a resting or breeding area. Directions: Take Route 31 north to the Flemington Circle and then continue north 4 miles and make a right onto Rt. 612, Bartles Corner Rd. Proceed east on Rt. 612 for about .75 miles to just after traffic light. Make an immediate left onto River Road—possibly one way entrance only requiring a u-turn after you cross railroad tracks and South Branch Raritan River. Head north on River Rd. for about 0.2 miles until you see the gravel lot on the right. Limited parking along the road.
  • Abbott Marshlands: Delaware and Raritan Canal Towpath in Bordentown  A field walk on Saturday, December 2, 10:00 am–noon. Join a historian and naturalist for a walk along the historic towpath in Bordentown. Directions: We will meet at the northbound I-295 Scenic Overlook parking lot. Please call 609-924-5705 to register. Co-sponsors: Friends for the Abbott Marshlands,  D&R Canal State Park, Bordentown City Environmental Commission.
  • Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Winter Bird Walk – Lou’s Walk  A field walk on Saturday, December 9, at 9:00 am led by Education Director, Jeff Hoagland, Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association (SBMWA). In the footsteps of Lou Beck, join Jeff on this annual hike of the Watershed Reserve in search of wintering birds. We will encounter a variety of common birds, examining their preparations for winter. Expect an unusual bird along the way. Bring binoculars and dress for winter weather conditions. 15yo+. Free to SBMWA and WCAS members; $5 Non-member. Register by calling the SBMWA Education Dept, 609-737-7592.
  • 118th Annual Christmas Bird Count on Sunday, December 17, 2017 (Princeton Count) and Saturday, December 30, 2017 (Trenton Count.)  National Audubon Society urges volunteers in central New Jersey to participate in one of Audubon’s great traditions, the annual Christmas Bird Count. WCAS sponsors both the Princeton Count, which this year will be held on Sunday, December 17, and the Trenton Count, to be held this year on Saturday, December 30. This year marks the 118th anniversary of the first Christmas Bird Count, when 27 conservationists in 25 localities, led by ornithologist Frank Chapman, changed the course of history. On Christmas Day 1900, the group initiated an alternative to the traditional holiday ‘side hunt,’ in which teams competed to see which could shoot the most birds. Instead of hunting, the group counted the birds they saw and founded a century-old institution. Today, over 50,000 volunteers from all 50 states, every Canadian province, parts of Central and South America, Bermuda, the West Indies, and Pacific islands will count and record every individual bird and bird species encountered during one calendar day. About 1800 individual Christmas Bird Counts will be held during a two-and-a-half-week period. Each count group has a designated circle, 15 miles in diameter—about 177 square miles—where they try to cover as much ground as possible within a 24-hour calendar day. All counts are open to birders of all skill levels. For more information, contact Brad Merritt at 609-921-8964 or email balmerritt@aol.com.

Click on calendar entries below for field trip locations. Clicking on the field trip you wish to join will bring open up the trip’s details including a Google Map and GPS coordinates. You may also visit our birding “Hot Spots” page for a map of local hot spots.

 

Field trip leader Brad Merritt (middle) © Tyler Christensen

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 © Tyler Christensen except lower right © Diana Hayes.

Birding Baldpate Summit © Diana Hayes

More outings in 2017

Sat, Nov 11, 9AM | Shark River

Sat, Nov 18, 8AM | Assiscong Marsh

Sat, Dec 2, 10AM | D&R Canal, Bordentown

Sat, Dec 9, 9AM with SBMWA | Lou’s Walk

Sun, Dec 17 | Princeton CBC

 

 

Sort Calendar by “FIELD TRIPS” category on left; Sort by “MONTH”, “WEEK” and “AGENDA” views on the right

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
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Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed | Your Wildlife Neighbors 10:00 am
Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed | Your Wildlife Neighbors @ Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed
Nov 4 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am
An event on Saturday, November 4, at 10:00-11:30 am.  Explore techniques to invite desirable critters to your yard, as well as keeping others out of your garden. In the end, children will make a birdfeeder from[...]
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Birds of Shark River 9:00 am
Birds of Shark River @ Belmar Marina
Nov 11 @ 9:00 am
A field trip on Saturday, November 11, at 9:00 am   led by Brad Merritt and Andrew Bobe. Migratory birds from northern climates more frigid than New Jersey’s head our way to spend the winter[...]
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Assiscong Marsh, Hunterdon County 8:00 am
Assiscong Marsh, Hunterdon County @ Assiscong Marsh
Nov 18 @ 8:00 am
A field trip on Saturday, November 18, at 8:00 am led by Brad Merritt and Juanita Hummel.  Join us as we explore the Assiscong Marsh, which attracts and supports migratory and resident waterfowl that use[...]
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Scott Weidensaul: Caught in the SNOWstorm 8:00 pm
Scott Weidensaul: Caught in the SNOWstorm @ Stainton Hall at Pennington School
Nov 20 @ 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Scott Weidensaul: Caught in the SNOWstorm @ Stainton Hall at Pennington School | Pennington | New Jersey | United States
Scott Weidensaul: Caught in the SNOWstorm The winter of 2013-14 saw the largest invasion of snowy owls into the eastern United States in perhaps a century — and marked an unprecedented opportunity to learn more about[...]
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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