MONTCLAIR BIRD CLUB
OUTINGS and TRIPS
The bird club conducts a full program of field excursions, including trips with a designated leader and "meet-up" outings arranged to take advantage of seasonal happenings at local hotspots. All of our activities are open to all members, friends, and visitors. For further information, please make contact with the listed leader or write to Beni at MBCOutings@gmail.com.
All participants are required to read and abide by our
WEDNESDAY MORNING WALKS
Join Fred Pfeifer each Wednesday for a walk around Garret Mountain Reservation or another nearby park to enjoy the avian treasures of the season. Text or call Fred at 973 809-7674 to register and to find out the meeting location.
VIRTUAL BIRD WALK
with a Zoom "tally" at 7:30 pm, December 16
Our monthly virtual field trips are a chance for members, friends, and visitors to share photographs and stories on line. To participate, please send your email address to Sandy Sorkin at MontclairBirdClub100@gmail.com.
Sunday, December 11, 2023
Assunpink Wildlife Management Area
a birder's meetup
(inclement weather date: December 18)
Assunpink Wildlife Management Area, in western Monmouth County, has been designated an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. IBAs, which have been named in 130 countries around the world, with 92 of them in New Jersey, must meet one of three criteria: they are a place where large numbers of birds congregate at one time, where an at-risk species can be found, or where a collection of habitat types supports groups of birds.
Assunpink's mixture of scrub-shrub, upland forest, and lake habitats supports a wide variety of bird life. According to eBird, 131 species have been seen at Assunpink in December over the years. We can expect a variety of waterfowl on the lakes and passerines in the upland forest and scrub-shrub habitats. Assunpink is also known as an occasional wintering site for trumpeter and tundra swans, which we hope to see.; there are also many species of ducks. The walking trails are delightful, though it can be a bit muddy in winter. Bundle up, and bring your binoculars and a scope if you have one. We will be walking on flat ground throughout, and I estimate we will walk no more than 2 miles. We are most fortunate to have Alex Bernzweig help lead this walk.
We will meet at 8:00 am and finish about 11:00, when those interested can continue to nearby Roosevelt, New Jersey, grab lunch, and look around this historic town. There is a nice radio piece from WNYC on the history of this New Deal Town. The unique housing and development of the town involved notables such as the architect Louis Kahn, artist Ben Shahn, and even Albert Einstein. Etra Lake is nearby, with wonderful trails and birding. For anyone returning in spring, check out Holland Ridge Farms' famous tulip festival . . . not to be believed, believe me! – Josh
To reach our meeting site, enter Lake Assunpink Boat Launch into your GPS. Take the Garden State Parkway to the New Jersey Tunrpike, south to Exit 8, and follow your GPS from there. Driving directions from Google Maps here.
For additional information, call the coordinator, Josh Schor, at 973 902-2477.
KEN BUCHANAN RIVERFRONT PARK
December 20, 2022
a birder's meet-up
This wide spot in the Raritan River, just upstream from Raritan Bay, is a regular wintering area for great and double-crested cormorants, bald eagles, northern harriers, and the occasional short-eared owl. The great attraction for birds and for birders is the active landfill on the north shore of the river, which has recently made the park one of New Jersey’s most productive gull-watching sites; lesser black-backed, Iceland, and glaucous gulls are regular here, though the white-winged species are, as expected, scarce. We will watch from a picnic shelter on the edge of the water, protected from any precipitation. Meet in the Ken Buchanan Riverfront Park boat ramp parking lot at 9:30 am (directions here). Dress for very cold, windy weather, and bring a notebook and pencil, binoculars and water and a snack; if you have a scope, you will probably find it helpful. Expect to finish around noon. No registration needed.
December 23, 2022
a birder's meet-up
On December 23, 1922, R. F. Haulenbeek walked from Branch Brook Park to Bloomfield, his contribution to the twenty-third Christmas Bird Count. All told, he tallied 72 individuals of 12 species; the slightly disappointing numbers were explained by the afternoon’s heavy rain, which eventually required that Haulenbeek be “rescued by a passing flivver.” We will retrace his route exactly 100 years later, starting at the Branch Brook Roller Skating Center at 8:00 am and ending mid-afternoon in Brookdale Park. Depending on the number of participants and flivvers, it may be possible to arrange a leap-frog shuttle for those who do not want to make the entire 8- to 9-mile walk. For further details and to register, write Beni at MBCOutings@gmail.com. Last year’s Mock CBC results can be reviewed here.
BRIGANTINE / EDWIN B. FORSYTHE NWR
January 9, 2023
a birder's meet-up
Inclement weather date January 10
Meet in the main parking lot by the bathrooms and visitor center at 10:00 am
Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (aka Brigantine) encompasses 48,000 acres of coastal habitats, 78% of which is salt marsh. Easily reached from Exit 48 on the Garden State Parkway, Brig is the site of great bird migrations spring and fall, but winter is an equally wonderful time to visit. We may be treated to the sight of many thousands of snow geese spooked into flight by a circling peregrine falcon. Northern harriers hunt low over the marsh; and in the past, we have been fortunate to be able to watch a short-eared owl during daylight hours surveying its winter home. Our plan is to drive the eight-mile gravel loop; depending on the weather, a short walk may be added. Bathroom facilities are usually available at the parking lot. This is a fee area (currently $4/vehicle); bring a current duck stamp or another pass if you have one. Dress warm, since even if we do not take any extended walks, we will still be standing outside the vehicles to scan the marshes. A scope is helpful if you have one; the leaders will have one available for use. Depending on the weather, we may spend the better part of the daylight hours here, so bring a lunch or snack.
Leaderless Walks will be joining us on this field trip.
Saturday, January 21, 2023
Round Valley Recreation Area
a birder's meetup
Meet at the East Picnic Area at 9:00 am
Hunterdon County's Round Valley Reservoir and the adjoining Recreation Area cover some 2,400 acres. The reservoir does not usually freeze over, making it a good spot for wintering water birds including loons, grebes, buffleheads, mergansers, and scaup. The walking trails along the reservoir and through the adjacent pine forests can be good for waxwings, nuthatches, several species of woodpeckers, and the occasional red crossbill. We'll walk about two miles on these trails, which are slightly hilly but not steep; tree roots and some rocky patches make hiking boots preferable. It can be windy, so dress for cold weather. Bring binoculars, water, and snacks or lunch. A scope will be useful while birding along the reservoir, which is quite large.
We will meet at 9:00 am at the East Picnic Area, where the restrooms will be open. We can bird along the sandy beach here before heading over to the trailhead at the south parking lot. The two-mile loop we will hike includes a portion of the Pine Tree trail and the Water Trail. We should finish by noon. For more information, call Dawn Pompeo at 973 715-8451. Directions and trail maps are here.