WCAS Forum

 

Field Trips - Fall 2014

For more information or notification of cancellation of field trips, call Field Trip Chair Brad Merritt at 609-921-8964; if the trip is described as co-sponsored with the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association (SB-MWA), advance registration is required. To register for such trips or to get more information on them call SB-MWA at (609) 737-7592. There is no fee for most of our field trips; exceptions are noted in the trip description. Most ending times indicatred are approximate trip may go longer or shorter!


September    Sep   Oct>
Migratory Birds of Forsythe (Brigantine) National Wildlife Refuge
Brad Merritt Saturday, September 6, 9:00 AM
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    Fauna List
WCAS
 or
FWS Bird List

Brigantine’s 20,000 acres of salt marsh, bays, freshwater impoundments, fields, and forests are known for their abundant waterfowl during autumn migration. Bring binoculars, field guide, lunch, and beverage, as well as money for the Refuge entrance fee. Meet at the parking lot by the visitor center, where rest rooms and checklists are available.

Directions: Garden State Parkway south to exit #48. Drive south on Route 9 for 6 miles to Oceanville. Turn left on Great Creek Road (there is a stoplight and a small sign for the refuge). Pre-registration is recommened because the trip may be cancelled due to bad weather or other reasons. To register, call Brad Merritt at 609-921-8964.

Palmyra NJ Nature Cove Park
Sharyn Magee and Charles Brine Saturday, September 13, 8:00-11:30AM
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    Fauna List
Fauna List

Palmyra park is located off Route 73 just under and south of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. The park has been exceptional for various species including warblers and sparrows. The park has a variety of habitats including marsh, deciduous trees, conifers, and bushes/vines. It is located along the Delaware River. If you have questions, call Brad Merritt at 609-921-8964.

Directions: Travel time is about one hour from the Princeton area. Go south on Rt. 295 to Route 73/Palmyra exit (Exit 36). Go five miles west on Route 73 to just before the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. Look for sign to the Palmyra Cove Park.

On the Move
SB-MWA Staff Saturday, September 20, 9:30-11:30AM
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Discover the mystery and magic of migration on the Watershed Reserve. During this morning walk, we will scan the skies for migratory hawks and search our meadows for Monarchs and dragonflies on their way to their winter grounds. Want to join the journey south? Adults and children >5yo. This program is co-sponsored by Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association. Call the Buttinger Nature Center (609-737-7592) to register ($5 suggested donation per person) and for more information.

More Than Meets the Eye...Art Exhibit
Abbott Marshlands Staff Saturday, September 20, 6:00-8:00PM
See map     Ellarslie,Trenton
City Museum

Sept. 20-Nov. 16. Abbott Marshlands - More than Meets the Eye, a multidimensional view. Art, artifacts, and nature exhibits celebrating the rich legacy of the Abbott Marshlands. At Ellarslie, the City Museum of Trenton at Cadwalader Park. During museum hours: Tues.-Sat 11-3, Sun. 1-4. (Closed Mondays and holidays).

Sept. 20. Exhibit opening and reception: 6-8 PM; 6:30 photography awards, including those sponsored by Washington Crossing Audubon. Museum members, exhibitors, and guests, 6-7 PM. Public, 7-8 PM. Contact/information: 609-989-1191.

Directions: Caldwalder Park is located between Caldwalder Dr., Steyvesant Ave and Parkside Ave (where the entrance is located). Follow Trenton Rd to Theater Ln.

Bird Banding At Featherbed Lane
Mark Witmer and Hannah Suthers Sunday, September 21, 8:00-11:30AM
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Fauna List
bird banding
Processing a bird
at Featherbed Lane in Hopewell.
© 2007 FLBS

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. Hannah has been banding on this site during the nesting season through fall migration for more than 30 consecutive years, and has documented the progression of habitat from fields to forest. In the process, she has learned a tremendous amount about birds and their lives and has published several papers.

You will see the entire process of bird banding, learn what information is obtained from these efforts, and probably learn a few things about common birds you have seen many times. During mid-September, we are likely to see a variety of species, including warblers, thrushes, wrens, and Hannah’s favorite, the catbird. As time permits, we will also explore the wooded habitat along Featherbed Lane for other migrants. You may read more about the Featherbed Lane Banding Station at their web site - hopewell-birds.freehostia.com.

Thanks to Rob Black and Johanna Farms, we now have slatted boardwalks which Rob made from heavy-machinery packing crates. Thanks to the crew that carried them in place. We can now walk from the road to the banding platform without touching mud!

Note: Registration is required, limited to 12 persons. Call Brad Merritt at 609-921-8964 to register.

Directions: Registered participants will meet at Featherbed Lane, just north of Hopewell. From Rt. 518 in Hopewell, turn north on Greenwood Avenue and drive approximately 1.5 miles. Turn right onto Featherbed Lane and go about 0.5 miles to the banding area, and park along the right side of the lane.

Discover Spring Lake, Roebling Park
Kelly RypkemaSunday, Setember 21, 1:00-4:00PM
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Fauna List
Fauna List

An easy walk. Guide: Kelly Rypkema, Mercer County Naturalist. Contact/information 609-303-0704. Please register. Meet at Ellarslie at 12:45 to car pool to Spring Lake, or at Spring Lake, Hamilton, NJ at 1 PM. Cosponsors with Mercer County Park Commission: Friends for the Abbott Marshlands, D&R Greenway Land Trust.

Directions: Spring Lake: US Rt. 206 (S. Broad St.) to Sewell Ave.; at the end of Sewell, turn left and drive down hill to parking lot).

World Rivers Day - Crosswicks Creek and the Delaware River at Bordentown
Kelly RypkemaSunday, Setember 28, 10AM-12Noon
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Fauna List
Fauna List

A leisurely walk and discussion of the importance of these waterways. Guides: Kim Beidler, Project Coordinator- Coalition for the Delaware River Basin and Michael Skelly, Executive Director, Bordentown Heritage. See the D&R Canal Lock 1, the RR bridge, and time permitting, the eagle nest. Contact/ information: 732-821-8310. Cosponsors with Mercer County Park Commission: Friends for the Abbott Marshlands, D&R Greenway Land Trust.

Directions: Meet at the Tulpehaking Nature Center, at 157 Westcott Avenue, Hamilton.

October <Sep Nov>
Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve
Brad Merritt and Charles Brine Saturday, October 11, 8:00-11:30AM
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The Negri-Nepote Native Grassland Preserve is a 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. There are 111 acres of grassland and 53 acres of woodland.

Sensitive species found on this site include the Grasshopper Sparrow and Cooper’s Hawk (both New Jersey state threatened species), and the Eastern Meadowlark and American Kestrel (both New Jersey special concern species). The American Kestrel remained at this location throughout the breeding season. With different bird houses located throughout this site, opportunities to view nesting American Kestrels, Wood Ducks, Bluebirds and Purple Martins may be present in any given year.

Directions: From 206 at Woods Tavern take 514 East (Amwell Road). Turn right on 615 South (South Middlebush Road). Turn left on Skillmans Lane. Entrance off west side of Skillmans Lane, between the two 90 degree curves on Skillmans Lane.

Birds of Mercer County Park Central
Mark Witmer Saturday, October 18, 8:00-11:30AM
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    Fauna List
Fauna List

Mercer County Park central is a 2500 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 the park from Hughes Drive or Old Trenton Road (Route 535). Meet at the parking lot for the boat house. For more information contact Mark Witmer at (609) 730-0826.

New! Cold Brook Reserve
Charles Brine and Brad Merritt Saturday, October 25, 8:30-11:30AM
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A NEW field trip Cold Brook Reserve is comprised of 180 acres of Hunterdon County parkland and is a great place to observe fall migrants, especially sparrows and other grassland birds. From Interstate 78 east to exit 24, Oldwick/Whitehouse. Proceed north from this exit 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.

Explore the Princeton Institute Woods With Dr. Henry Horn
Dr. Henry Horn, Princeton University Saturday, October 25, 9:00-12Noon mapSee map.

Join Dr. Henry Horn, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University for this popular and enlightening look at forest dynamics in Princeton Institute Woods. Discover life and death in the forest while examining a myriad of adaptations in various species, all occupying distinct niches throughout the forest. The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association cosponsors this event. The program is free but pre-registration is required and enrollment is limited. Carpooling is encouraged and a map will be sent to registrants. To register or for more information please call the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association at (609) 737-7592. $5 suggested donation per person to SB-MWA.

November <Oct Dec>
Under Rocks and Logs
SB-MWA Staff Saturday, November 1, 1:00-2:30PM
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Get out the day after Halloween and search for real creepy crawlies. On this family hike explore life under logs and rocks from the tiny to the furry. Denizens we meet could include the familiar sow bugs and millipedes as well as click beetles and meadow voles readying for winter. Families (children 5yo+), $5 per person. Please call the Buttinger Nature Center to register and for directions, 609-737-7592. This program is co-sponsored by the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association.

Mid-Autumn at the Abbott Marshlands
Mary Anne BorgeSaturday, November 1, 9:30 - 11:30 AM
map
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Fauna List
Fauna List

Experience the colors of autumn and look for signs of the season as the plants and animals of the marsh prepare for winter. All are welcome. The pace of the walk will accommodate photography. Guide: Mary Anne Borge, naturalist and photographer. Contact/ information: 732-821-8310. (Optional visit to nature center follows.) (Cosponsors Friends for the Marsh, Mercer County Parks, D&R Greenway Land Trust).

Directions: Coming from Trenton on South Broad St., turn right into Sewell Avenue shortly after the Lalor St. intersection. Proceed to the end of Sewell Ave. (watch out for stop signs) and follow the dirt road to the left down the hill to parking area.

Beaver Walk at the Hamilton/Trenton Marsh
Joe SchmeltzFriday, November 7, 6:30-8PM
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Participants will be looking for beavers at Spring Lake, Roebling Park with Mercer County Naturalist Joe Schmeltz. For more information, call 609-895-5420. This trip is co-sponsored by Mercer County Parks, Friends for the Marsh, D&R Greenway Land Trust, and Trenton City Smile. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Directions: Coming from Trenton on South Broad St., turn right onto Sewell Avenue shortly after the Lalor St. intersection. Proceed to the end of Sewell Ave. (watch out for stop signs) and follow the dirt road to the left down the hill to parking area.

Beaver

See Friends for the Marsh website (www.marsh-friends.org) for listings of additional outings and canoe trips that complement those of WCAS.

 

Birds of Shark River
Mary Doscher and Brad Merritt Saturday, November 15, at 9:00 AM.
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Fauna List

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. Mary Doscher helps us see these winter arrivals as they add beauty and interest to the fresh, brackish, and salt waters along the Jersey shore.

Directions: Meet at Marina, Route 35 in Belmar. Bring lunch and beverage, dress for the weather. For more information, contact Brad Merritt at 609-921-8964.

December <Nov Dec
Winter Bird Walk
Jeff Hoagland, SB-MWA Buttinger Center Saturday, December 6, 9:00-11:00AM mapSee map.

Join SBMWA Education Director Jeff Hoagland on a hike of the Watershed Reserve in search of wintering birds. We hope to observe sparrows scratching the earth, chickadees and titmice foraging in the trees, and vultures soaring far above. Bluebirds, owls, hawks and pheasants are also possible, but we will focus primarily on the common winter birds and their behavior. This program is co-sponsored by the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association. Please pre-register for this program by calling (609) 737-7592 — directions will be provided. $5 suggested donation per person to SB-MWA.

The Marshlands - In the Footsteps of the Lenape
Stephanie Fox
Vicki Chirco
Saturday, December 6, 1:00-3:00PM
map
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Fauna List
Fauna List

Guides: Stephanie Fox, Naturalist, and Vicki Chirco, Historian, will lead this walk. Contact/information, (732) 821-8310 or (609) 924-5705. (Cosponsors Friends for the Marsh, Mercer County Parks, D&R Greenway Land Trust).

Directions: Meet at Stanton Ave. (Rt. 206 S, south of interstate I-195; take first right after Pointe Breeze apartment complex. Note: the street sign may be missing).

115th Annual Christmas Bird Count
B Merritt, & L Larson,
M Doscher & B Merritt
Sunday, December 14 (Princeton) &
Saturday, December 27 (Trenton)
 

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 14, and the Trenton Count, to be held this year on Saturday, December 27.

This year marks the 115th anniversary of the Christmas Bird Count, since 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 who 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.

Christmas Bird Count serves as an up-to-the-minute bird census. Counters catalogue every bird and bird species they see over one calendar day, from midnight to midnight. Growing in popularity since its inception, the count serves an important scientific function as well. Birds are one of the first groups of animals to be affected by environmental threats like pollution and habitat destruction, and CBC data provide indispensable information, not only on long-term health of bird populations, but also the status of the environment that birds share with all living things.

Apart from its attraction as a social, sporting, and competitive event, the annual count reveals interesting and scientifically useful information on the early-winter distribution patterns of various bird species and the over-all health of the environment.

The Christmas Bird Count is the longest running ornithological database. It continues to grow in importance as a means to monitor the status of resident and migratory bird populations across the western hemisphere. The CBC is 100% volunteer generated data that, over the years, has become a crucial part of the United States Government’s natural history monitoring database. Count data from 1900 to the present are currently available through BirdSource , a cooperative project of the National Audubon Society and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

All counts are open to birders of all skill levels. For more information, contact

Princeton:

Brad Merritt, P.O. Box 178, Rocky Hill, NJ 08553 609-921-8964, balmerritt@aol.com
Laurie Larson, 91 Sycamore Lane, Skillman, NJ 08558

Trenton:

Mary E. Doscher, 147 Gary Drive, Trenton, NJ 08690 609-586-3185, doschem@msn.com
Brad Merritt, P.O. Box 178, Rocky Hill, NJ 08553 609-921-8964, balmerritt@aol.com

Suggestions to WCAS If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us at:   contact.wcas@gmail.com

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Last revision: Sunday, September 7, 2014