I have been thinking quite a bit about the best place to begin my New Jersey Big Year. There are so many good places to start, but which would be the best?
I finally decided on an area that never fails to please – the North Shore! New Jersey’s shore is well know as a summer destination. Tourists from New York, Philadelphia, and all areas of New Jersey visit the Shore in huge numbers every year.
Perhaps a lesser known aspect of the Jersey Shore is the potential for amazing birding opportunities through the late Fall through early Spring. The big crowds are gone and the summer attractions are shuttered – and the birds are there en masse.
What could I hope to find – loons, ducks, scoter, gulls, and eider are frequently found feeding in the breakers, while sanderling, turnstone, and sandpipers chase the waves to and fro for hours. A series of fresh water ponds along the route could yield gadwall, teal, mallards, heron, and geese.
I have never been a “beach” goer. Don’t get me wrong – I love a walk on the boards during warm summer evenings. But my favorite time at the Shore are those brisk winter mornings when there are few people and many birds.
North Shore it is! Hope for good weather and abundant birds. Maybe a crossbill or two!
Wish me luck.