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, [email protected] 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.



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

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).

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.


  • Saturday Sept. 11 – Field trip to Brigantine (Edwin B. Forsythe NWR) led by Brad Merritt, meeting at Brig at 9 AM.  This is a great opportunity to see migrating shorebirds and songbirds. The trip is free, but space is limited due to ongoing Covid concerns and pre-registration is required.  Sign up at [email protected] and receive a confirmation email with directions and details on where to meet.  Masks are optional for those who are fully vaccinated unless state guidelines change.
  • St. Michael’s Preserve A field trip on Sat. Sept 25 at 8AM led by Sharyn Magee and Juanita Hummel
  • Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve A field trip on Saturday, October 2 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). We have opportunities to view Fall migrants such as Sparrows, Warblers and Kinglets.
  • Mercer County Park Central a field trip on Sat. Oct. 9 at 8AM led by Mark Witmer. 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 looking for migrating Warblers and Fall Sparrows. A western species, Ash-throated Flycatcher, was once found by the dam in early December. Bring binoculars and a field guide, and dress for the weather.
  • Fiddler’s Creek Preserve a field trip on Sat. Oct.16 at 8AM led by Sharyn Magee. 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.
  • Mount Rose Preserve a field trip on Sat. Oct 23 at 8AM led by 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.
  • Sandy Hook a field trip on Sat. Nov 13 at 9AM led by Brad Merritt. Sandy Hook is a prime spot for birding and a great way to learn more about shore birds. Opportunities to see raptors, marsh birds, and migrating songbirds along the Jersey shore.


Sun. Dec 19, 2021
Princeton CBC
Compiler – Brad Merritt

Sun Jan. 2,   2022
Trenton Marsh CBC
Compiler – Brad Merritt

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 or Brad Merritt at [email protected]

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

Events co-sponsored with the Watershed Institute


Beginner Bird Walk

Wednesday, June 16, 7:30 – 10:00am

Join Jeff Hoagland, Watershed Education Director and Washington Crossing Audubon Society Board Member for a beginner birding walk on the Watershed Reserve. Whether you are a seasoned birder or a beginner, this hike is perfect for you! Over the decades, Jeff has recorded almost 200 species of birds on this nearly 1000-acre Reserve. On this morning, explore several habitats, meeting a wide variety of resident birds, focusing on their identification, natural history and family life. Sanitized binoculars are available to borrow upon advanced request. Register here for this FREE program, space is limited:

Field trip leader Brad Merritt (middle) © Tyler Christensen
Photos © Tony Singleton
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.

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

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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.

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

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

40°18’49.5″N 74°51’46.6″W

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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:

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: