WCAS Forum


Field Trips - Winter/Spring 2015

For more information or notification of cancellation of field trips, call Brad Merritt (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.

January Jan Feb>
Return to Shark River
Mary Doscher
& Brad Merritt
Saturday, February 1, 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.

Groundhog Day
SB-MWA StaffSaturday, February 1, 1:00 - 3:00 PM
mapSee map

Celebrate Groundhog Day with the Teacher-Naturalists the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Reserve in Pennington! We will visit several groundhog burrows and learn about the natural history of these furry weather forecasters. If the weather allows, join us in playing a game about hibernation. After the hike, come inside to warm up by our fire, enjoy a hot beverage and make a Groundhog Day craft! This program is co-sponsored by Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association (SB-MWA); all are welcome, but pre-registration is required with a $5 suggested donation per person. To register or for more information, please call SB-MWA at (609) 737-7592.

February <Jan Mar>
Round Valley Reservoir
Mark WitmerSunday, February 7, 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM
See map
Fauna List
Fauna List

Join us for a mid-winter trip to search for waterfowl and visitors from the north. Round Valley Recreation Area (RVRA) in northern Hunterdon County features a huge lake, covering over 4,000 acres, and is more than 180 feet deep. Winter is a good time to search for bald eagles, hawks, owls, gulls, and waterfowl including ducks, loons, and grebes. In addition to the lake, RVRA contains forest and edge habitats, and numerous hiking trails, if not heavily snow covered, may allow us to search for other winter migrants, including various sparrows. The field trip will start at Round Valley Recreation Area, and depending on recent winter weather conditions, may also include a visit to nearby Spruce Run Recreation Area, or the Alpha Grasslands, approximately 15 miles to the west. Please meet in the northwest corner of RVRA, at the main boat launch area. The entrance to the boat launch is 0.8 miles north of the main entrance on County Route 629, Lebanon Stanton Road. For further information, or notice of trip cancellation due to weather, call Mark Witmer at (609) 730-0826, or (609) 558-7086.

Winter Ducks II
Jenn RogersSunday, February 15, 1:00 - 3:00 PM
See map

This walk will focus on Wintering Ducks. Meet at Spring Lake - Roebling Park (end of Sewell Ave., Hamilton). For information: 609-303-0700 x226. (Cosponsors: Mercer County Parks, Friends for the Marsh, Washington Crossing Audubon, D&R Greenway Land Trust) Please see the Friends for the Marsh website (www.marsh-friends.org) and D&R Greenway Land Trust (www.drgreenway.org) for listings of additional outings that complement those of WCAS.

Winter Tree Exploration
SB-MWA Buttinger CenterSaturday, February 21, 2:00 - 3:30 PM
See map

Join this outdoor exploration to learn about life in the forest by uncovering the secret lives of trees. Discover the many ways that trees provide for others in the forest community from tiny gall flies, the chickadee, turkey tail and wild grape. Families (children 8yo+), $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.


March<Feb  Apr>
Woodcock Watch
SB-MWA Buttinger CenterFriday, March 6, 6:00 - 7:30 PM
See map

Discover the local avian harbinger of spring, the woodcock, on a short hike on the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Reserve trails in Pennington with SBMWA Education Director Jeff Hoagland. Join us at dusk as we watch and learn more about their spring courtship dance and fascinating life. This program is co-sponsored by Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association (SB-MWA); and Families (children 6 and older), pre-registration is required. To register or for more information, please call SB-MWA at (609) 737-7592. Fee: $5 suggested donation per person.


Winter Ducks III
Jenn RogersSunday, March 8, 1:00 - 3:00 PM
See below

This walk will focus on Wintering Ducks. Meet at Spring Lake - Roebling Park (end of Sewell Ave., Hamilton). For information: 609-883-6606 x 112.

Please see the Friends for the Marsh website (www.marsh-friends.org) and D&R Greenway Land Trust (www.drgreenway.org) for listings of additional outings that complement those of WCAS.


Assunpink Wildlife Management Area
John Maret &
Andrew Bobe
Saturday, March 14, 8:30 - 11:30 AM
See map.
Fauna List
Fauna List

This is the time to start looking for migrating waterfowl and other northern-bound birds in this productive local wildlife management area.

Directions: East on I-195 to exit 11, Imlaystown. North on Imlaystown Road 2.6 miles to parking area at Lake Assunpink. Contact Brad Merritt (609) 921-8964 if additional information is needed.


Washington Crossing State Park
Franta Broulik &
Wayne Henderek
Sunday, March 15, 1:30 - 3:30 PM
See map
 Fauna List
Fauna List

We will walk a few of the many trails in the park looking for spring migrants and resident birds in wooded areas and adjacent fields.

Directions: Washington Crossing State Park is located off of Washington Crossing - Pennington Road in Titusville, NJ. Enter the park and follow signs to the Nature Center. Park at the Nature Center parking lot. If additional information is needed, Call Brad Merritt (609) 921-8964.


Beaver Walk at the Hamilton/Trenton Marsh
Joe SchmeltzFriday, March 27, 6:30-8:30 PM
See map

Participants will be looking for beavers at Spring Lake, Roebling Park with former 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.


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


Cumberland County Birding Jaunt
Charles BrineSaturday, March 28
We plan to leave the Princeton area at 7:30 AM.
Location(s) TBA.

This trip to Cumberland County in South Jersey for early spring migrants involves driving to numerous stops, so we would like to car pool to minimize the number of cars. The first stop/rest stop in Cumberland County is about 1 1/2 hours from Princeton. Please register with Brad Merritt (609) 921-8964 prior to the trip for car pooling instructions.


April<Mar May>
Mercer Meadows (Pole Farm)
Tyler ChristensenSaturday, April 4, 8:00 AM
See map
 Fauna List
Fauna List

This park was known for years as the AT&T Overseas Transmission Station, or more familiarly as "The Pole Farm." It is adjacent to Rosedale Park, which is now part of the new Northwest Park. Come with us as we walk the paths and compare the flora and fauna to that of Rosedale.

Directions: From the traffic light at Manors Corner shopping center on Pennington-Lawrenceville Road take Keefe Road toward Princeton for 1.1 miles to the bend where it meets Cold Soil Road. At that bend, the entrance is on the left through a chain link gate. There is a white barn on the left inside the gate. Go straight on the macadam road to the parking area. If starting in Princeton, take Cold Soil Road, go 1.1 miles past Blackwell Road to the bend, and look for the entrance on right.


Peace Valley Prowl
Brad Merritt and Margie RutbellSunday, April 12, 9:00 AM
See map
 Fauna List
Fauna List

We’ll walk the trails in this Bucks County Park looking for waterfowl, raptors, and early migrating warblers.

Directions: Route 202 South toward Doylestown. Right onto Route 313, proceed west for 4 miles. Left on New Galena Road, then first left onto Chapman Road. Go to the parking lot across from the Nature Center. Contact Brad Merritt (609) 921-8964 if more information is needed.


Roebling Park - Gateway to the Hamilton/Trenton Marsh
Brad Merritt, John Maret,
Mary Leck & Andrew Bobe
Saturday, April 25, 8:00 AM
See map
 Fauna List
Fauna List
Red-winged Blackbird

Roebling Park is a Mercer County park adjacent to the Hamilton/Trenton Marsh. We plan to follow trails in this rejuvenated park and look for migrating warblers and marsh birds. If you have not been in this area recently, we think you will be surprised by the improvements in the park.

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.


May<Apr  May
Garret Mountain Reservation
Brad MerrittSaturday, May 2, 8:30 AM - 2:00 PM
See map
 Fauna List
Fauna List

Garret Mountain Reservation, a Passaic County Park, located just south of Paterson, NJ, can be an excellent spot in the spring for the songbird migration.

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 an army tank and the 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 about 40 miles. Bring a lunch. We may also visit Rifle Camp Park, which is adjacent to Garret Mountain. If additional information is needed, call Brad Merritt (609) 921-8964.


Hamilton Veteran’s Park
Mark WitmerSunday, May 3, 8:00 AM
See map
 Fauna List
Fauna List

Join us for a trip to a popular recreational park in Hamilton Township. Veteran’s Park has a nice diversity of habitat including a lake, streams, open fields, and woods; these support a diversity of bird life. In the past few years, wood ducks, tree and barn swallows, red-tailed hawks, cedar waxwings, orchard and Baltimore orioles, red-eyed vireos, scarlet tanagers, and indigo buntings are just some of the birds that have been spring and summer residents of the park. While we won’t see all these birds, we should see many, along with some unexpected migrants, as spring migration season will be in full swing. Call Mark Witmer (609) 730-0826 if you have any questions.

Directions: we will meet at the north entrance to the park, which is along Klockner Road, just east of Hamilton Square-White Horse Road, across the street from Steinert High School. As you enter the park drive to the back of the parking area; we will gather there.


BIRDATHON 2015 is COMING on May 9 ! ! !
Diane Carlino
Jackie Spritzer
Saturday May 10 - All day!Fauna List
Fauna List

This is the first call for our 2015 Birdathon, to be held on Saturday, May 9! Spring will be here sooner than we know and WCAS Birdathon '15 will take place at the height of spring migration. Our sole fundraiser of the year will bring together people who love birds and the environment for a friendly competition to spot as many species as possible in a day.

We will be asking our members, friends and neighbors for donations, which will all go toward support of local educational outreach, research and conservation efforts. Your generous Birdathon donations fund programs and research that will further our understanding of both our resident and migrating bird species and enable us to share birding insights with you in a variety of community offerings.

Participate! We want to build on last year's team effort. You can join a guided team in heading to hot spots such as Baldpate, The Pole Farm, or the Princeton Institute Woods. More information to come!

We are looking for team leaders-naturalists who will head out into the field and lead a small group of members and friends around your favorite Birdathon location(s.) We'll help coordinate your team and support donation collection. If you would like to volunteer or lead a team, please contact Brad Merritt (balmerritt@aol.com).

Join us in bringing the fun of Birdathon to everyone ... enjoy a day outdoors and tally bird species and help us reach our $7,500 goal for Birdathon '15!

This is the only fund raiser for WCAS. The money collected goes for several of our educational and environmental programs such as:

  • Audubon Adventures for 60 inner-city fourth-grade classrooms
  • Workshops and field trips for families
  • Monthly program meeting with informative speakers
  • Hannah Suthers’ bird banding on Featherbed Lane, Hopewell
  • and much more.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 9th and come join the fun as a participant or as a sponsor.


Upcoming Fieldtrips
Sat.May168:00 AMPrinceton Institute Woods
Sun.May178:00 AMPrinceton Institute Woods
Sat.May238:00 AMNegri-Nepote
Sun.May249:00 AMBaldpate Mountain
Sat.May307:00 AMDelaware Water Gap
Sat.Jun68:00 AMPole Farm
Sat.Jun138:30 AMWashington Crossing  SP
Sat.Jun208:00 AMAssunpink WMA
Sat.Aug229:00 AMJohnson Sod Farms
Suggestions to WCAS If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us at:   contact.wcas@gmail.com

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Last revision: Saturday, January 24, 2015