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
Allentown Sod Farm A field trip on Saturday, August 25, at 9:00 AM, led by Brad Merritt. Join us as we look for migrating shorebirds. We hope to see some splendid shorebirds, such as Baird’s, Pectoral, Upland and Buff-breasted Sandpipers, Golden and Black-bellied Plovers, in addition to sparrows and Horned Larks. Directions: Take I-195 exit 8, head north on CR 539. Turn left on Herbert Rd, then left on New Sharon Rd. Parking lot on left. Please contact Brad Merritt 609-921-8964 to register.
- Friends for the Abbott Marshlands: Island Trail, Roebling Park, 1st Saturday Walk. A field walk on Saturday, September 1, at 10:00 AM. Join guide Kelly Rypkema for the first 1st Saturday Abbott Marshlands Walk – A Prescription for Better Health. Take walk on the Island Trails at Roebling Park. Directions: https://abbottmarshlands.org/getting-there/ 1st Saturday walks are offered by Friends for the Abbott Marshlands and cosponsored by WCAS, RWJ Hospital–Hamilton, Tulpehaking Nature Ctr, D&R Canal State Park & Bordentown Twp. Environmental Commission
Edwin Forsythe NWR (Brigantine) A field trip on Saturday, September 8, at 9:00 AM, led by Jim Myers and 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 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 16, at 8:00 AM, led by Mark Witmer and Hannah Suthers. Registration 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 receive information regarding meeting location.
The Watershed Institute, Campfire Storytelling An event on Friday, September 21, at 7:00 PM. Step away from the screen and listen to our storytellers spin yarns from several cultures. Spark your imagination with stories both funny and poignant. Roast a marshmallow as you lend an ear to stories from far and near. Please register at www.thewatershed.org or call 609-737-7592 as space is limited. The Watershed Institute, 31 Titus Mill Road, Pennington. Co-sponsored with The Watershed Institute.
St. Michael’s Farm Preserve, Hopewell A field trip on Saturday, September 22, at 8:00 AM, led by Sharyn Magee, 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. From Rt. 206, go west on Rt. 518, continue six miles and turn left onto Princeton Ave. Continue .5 mile east; the main parking lot is on the left.
The Watershed Institute, Autumn Reading Group: Out there: Voices from the Wild – Poet Mary Oliver An event on Wednesday, September 26, at 7:30 PM. First of a series of three. Facilitator Jeff Hoagland invites you to enjoy this unique and relaxed reading group in exploring the wide and varied terrain of nature writing, wildness and wilderness. Each month, readers will receive by email, a curated collection of poems and prose focused on a specific topic or author. Meets at the Watershed Center. Please register at www.thewatershed.org. Register for individual sessions or all three. Light refreshments provided. Co-sponsored with The Watershed Institute.
Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve A field trip on Saturday, September 29, at 8:00 AM, led by Sharyn Magee and 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 6, at 8:00 AM, led by Mark Witmer 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.
The Watershed Institute: Stars, Planets and Stories in the Sky An event on Friday, October 5, at 7:30 PM. Explore the wonders of the night sky beneath the ribbon of the Milky Way. Discover some prominent constellations and learn the stories behind them. Meet some of our planet neighbors through telescopes during this beginner family astronomy session. Meets at the Watershed Center. Please register at www.thewatershed.org; space limited. Co-sponsored with The Watershed Institute.
Friends for the Abbott Marshlands: Towpath Trail, Duck Island, 1st Saturday Walk A field walk on Saturday, October 6, at 10:00 AM. Join guide Stephanie Fox for the second 1st Saturday Abbott Marshlands Walk – A Prescription for Better Health. Take walk on the D&R Canal State Park Towpath (north end) at Duck Island. From NJ 129 south take the Lamberton Road exit onto Canal Boulevard. Once past Sturgeon Pond you will see a gate with a small brown sign. Park on the shoulder near the gate. Co-sponsored with Friends for the Abbott Marshlands.
Fiddler’s Creek Preserve at Baldpate Mountain A field trip on Saturday, October 13, 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.
The Watershed Institute: Autumn Reading Group: Out there: Voices from the Wild – The Seacoast An event on Wednesday, October 17, at 7:30 PM. Second of a series of three. Facilitator Jeff Hoagland invites you to enjoy this unique and relaxed reading group in exploring the wide and varied terrain of nature writing, wildness and wilderness. Each month, readers will receive by email, a curated collection of poems and prose focused on a specific topic or author. Meets at the Watershed Center. Please register at www.thewatershed.org. Register for individual sessions or all three. Light refreshments provided. Co-sponsored with The Watershed Institute.
Mount Rose Preserve A field trip on Saturday, October 20, at 8:00 AM led by Sharyn Magee, Jim Myers, and Beth Craighead. 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; meet at parking lot. For more information, contact Brad Merritt at 609-921-8964. Co-sponsored by Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space
Friends for the Abbott Marshlands: D&R Canal Towpath Trail, 1st Saturday Walk A field walk on Saturday, October 20, at 10:00 AM. Lichenologist Dennis Waters will explore the mysterious organisms that are part fungus (non-photosynthetic) and part alga (photosynthetic). The intimate life style produces unique shapes, structures, and even chemicals. Meet at the I-295 Scenic Overlook. Call 732-821-8310. Co-sponsored with Friends for the Abbott Marshlands.
Sandy Hook National Park A field trip on Saturday, November 10, at 9:00 AM, led by Brad Merritt and Andrew Bobe. 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. Directions: Meet at Parking Lot B on Sandy Hook. For more information, contact Brad Merritt at 609-921-8964.
The Watershed Institute: Autumn Reading Group: Out there: Voices from the Wild Survival of the Bark Canoe by John McPhee An event on Wednesday, November 14, at 7:30 PM. Final of a series of three. Facilitator Jeff Hoagland invites you to enjoy this unique and relaxed reading group in exploring the wide and varied terrain of nature writing, wildness and wilderness. Each month, readers will receive by email, a curated collection of poems and prose focused on a specific topic or author. Meets at the Watershed Center. Please register at www.thewatershed.org. Register for individual sessions or all three. Co-sponsored with The Watershed Institute.
Friends for the Abbott Marshlands: First Saturday walks A field walk on Saturday, December 1, 10:00 AM-noon. Join the Abbott Marshlands for their educational walks within the marshlands and along the Delaware & Raritan State Park. See www.abbottmarshlands.org for more information. Co-sponsored with Friends for the Abbott Marshlands, D&R Canal State Park, Bordentown City Environmental Commission, Tulpehaking Nature Center.
The Watershed Institute:Winter Bird Walk – Lou’s Walk A field walk on Saturday, December 8, at 9:00 AM led by The Watershed Institute’s education director, Jeff Hoagland. 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 muddy, winter weather conditions. Meet at The Watershed Institute 15yo+. Register by calling the TWI Education Dept, 609-737-7592. Co-sponsored with The Watershed Institute.
119th Annual CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT
Sunday, December 16, 2018 (Princeton Count)
Saturday, December 29, 2018 (Trenton Count)
For details see https://www.washingtoncrossingaudubon.org/events/christmas-bird-count/
Friends for the Abbott Marshlands: A field trip on Saturday, January 12, at 9:00 AM led Brad Merritt, Mary Leck, Andrew Bobe. Roebling Park is a Mercer County park adjacent to the Hamilton/Trenton marsh. We plan to follow the trails and see how the marsh and its wildlife adjust to the cold weather. In case of inclement weather, contact Brad Merritt at 609-921-8964. Directions: Take South Broad St. to Sewell Ave. turn onto Sewell at traffic light; at road’s end, turn left and continue downhill to parking lot. Co-sponsored with Friends for the Abbott Marshlands.
Birds of Shark River: A field trip on Saturday, January 26, at 9:00 AM led by Brad Merritt and Andrew Bobe. The Shark River area allows us to visit several interesting habitats along the bay, ocean, and fresh water ponds. 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 and confirmation of trip location, contact Brad Merritt at 609-921-8964.
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@example.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.
Sort Calendar by “FIELD TRIPS” category on left; Sort by “MONTH”, “WEEK” and “AGENDA” views on the right
Sandy Hook National Park 9:00 am
The Watershed Institute: Stars, Planets and Stories in the Sky 7:30 pm
The Watershed Institute: Stars, Planets and Stories in the Sky @ Watershed Institute
Nov 14 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
The Watershed Institute: Autumn Reading Group: Out there: Voices from the Wild Survival of the Bark Canoe by John McPhee An event on Wednesday, November 14, at 7:30 PM. Final of a series of three. Facilitator Jeff[...]
Robert Somes: New Jersey’s Bald Eagle Recovery Program: Past, Present and Future 8:00 pm
Robert Somes: New Jersey’s Bald Eagle Recovery Program: Past, Present and Future @ Stainton Hall at Pennington School
Nov 19 @ 8:00 pm – 9:15 pm
Robert Somes: New Jersey’s Bald Eagle Recovery Program: Past, Present and Future Monday, November 19, 2018 at 8:00 PM In his illustrated talk, Robert Somes will present an overview of the history of bald eagle[...]
Pole Farm at Mercer Meadows at corner of Cold Soil and Keefe Rds.
GPS: 40.312911, -74.737523
Deer management in winter
Baldpate Mountain, Fiddler's Creek Entrance
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
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
Rogers Wildllife Refuge next to Institute Woods
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.
Pole Farm Federal City Rd./Reed Bryan entrance
St. Michaels Preserve
Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association
31 Titus Mill Rd, Pennington, NJ 08534
Mercer County Park
Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve
Washington Crossing State Park Nature Center
355 Washington Crossing Pennington Rd, Titusville, NJ 08560, USA
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.
Cumberland County Heislerville WMA
Dikes on Matts Landing Rd, Leesburg, NJ 08327, USA
Peace Valley Nature Center
42-64 N Chapman Rd, Doylestown, PA 18901, USA
Mt. Rose Preserve
Mount Rose Preserve, Carter Rd., Hopewell Township, NJ 08540, USA
Please confirm parking on west or east side of Carter Rd.
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.
Round Valley Reservoir Boat Launch
County Rd 629, Lebanon, NJ 08833, USA
Pryde's Point Trail
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: http://njtrails.org/trail/prydes-point-alexauken-creek/