WCAS Forum


Field Trips - Winter 2015/16

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.

December Dec Jan>
Abbott Marshlands: Bordentown Bluffs
Friends of Marsh StaffSaturday, December 5, 1:00-3:00PM
See below
Fauna List
Fauna List

Directions: Take US-206 South; first right after Pointe Breeze apartments. Look for Abbott Marshlands sign.

Cosponsors: Friends for the Abbott Marshlands, D&R Canal State Park, Bordentown Township Environmental Commission, WCAS

116th Annual Christmas Bird Count
B Merritt, & L Larson,
M Doscher & B Merritt 
Sunday, December 20, 2015 (Princeton) &
Saturday, January 2, 2016 (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, 2015 and the Trenton Count, to be held this year on Saturday, January 2, 2016.

This year marks the 116th 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


Brad Merritt, P.O. Box 178, Rocky Hill, NJ 08553 609-921-8964, balmerritt@aol.com


Brad Merritt, P.O. Box 178, Rocky Hill, NJ 08553 609-921-8964, balmerritt@aol.com

January <Dec Feb>
Winter Birds at Barnegat Light
Brad Merritt Saturday, January 9, 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM.
See map
Fauna List
Fauna List

Barnegat Light, located at the north end of Long Beach Island, is a great site for wintering birds. The inlet, beach, and jetties are well known for unusual visitors, including at times the beautiful harlequin duck. Bring lunch and beverage, and dress warmly.

Directions: Call Brad at 609-921-8964 one or two days prior to the trip date for time and directions.

Abbott Marshlands
Brad Merritt; Andrew Bobe;
and Charles Leck
Saturday, January 16, 10:00 AM - Noon
See map
Fauna List
Fauna List

Roebling Park is a Mercer County park adjacent to the Abbott Marshlands. 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: 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.

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

Return to Shark River
Mary Doscher
& Brad Merritt
Saturday, January 30, from 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
weather permitting
See map
Fauna List
Fauna List

The Shark River area - about one hour away, east on I-195 - allows us to visit a number of interesting habitats (bay, ocean, and fresh water ponds). We can compare the list of birds we saw in November with the birds that decide to stay for the winter.

Directions: Take I-295 to I-195 to Route 35, and meet at the Marina, Route 35 in Belmar. Bring lunch and beverage, and dress for the weather. Call Brad at (609) 921-8964 one or two days prior to the trip date for time and directions.

February <Jan Feb
Round Valley Reservoir
Mark WitmerSaturday, February 6, 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM
See map
Fauna List
Fauna List

This reservoir in northern Hunterdon County covers over 4,000 acres, is more than 180 feet deep, and is a popular recreational site year-round. Winter is a good time to search for bald eagles, various waterfowl, and gulls. It is also a prime time to look for owls which frequently roost or nest in the area. Depending on weather conditions, we will combine this with a tour of the adjacent Cushetonk Mountain Nature Preserve or nearby Spruce Run Recreation Area. For further information, or notice of trip cancellation due to weather, call Mark Witmer at (609) 730-0826.

Upcoming Fieldtrips
Sat.Mar128:30 AMAssunpink WMA
Sun.Mar201:30 PMWashington Crossing SP
Sat.Mar269 AMCumberland County
Sat.Apr28 AMMercer Meadows - Pole Farm
Sun.Apr99 AMPeace Valley PA
Sat.Apr308 AMAbbott Marshlans
Sat.May77:30 AMGarrett Mountain
Sun.May88 AMPrinceton Institute Woods
Sat.May14All DayWCAS Birdathon
Sat.May218 AMPrinceton Institute Woods
Sun.May229 AMBaldpate Mountain
Sat.May288 AMNegri-Nepote
Sat.June47 AMDelaware Water Gap
Sat.Jun118:30 AMWashington Crossing SP
Sat.Jun188 AMAssunpink WMA
Sat.Jun258 AMMercer Meadows - Pole Farm
Sat.Aug139 AMWhitesbog
Sat.Aug209 AMAllentown Sod Farms
Suggestions to WCAS If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us at:   contact.wcas@gmail.com

usemap Go to Washington Crossing Audubon Society Homepage Go to Conservation Webpage Go to Field Trips Webpage Go to WCAS News Webpage Go to Web Links Webpage Go to Officers and Board Webpage
Last revision: Saturday, November 21, 2015