Have you had a busy holiday season?
The holidays, for me, have been a whirlwind of activity – really great and really busy. Poor weather conditions managed to wreck two of the three days I had set aside for birding, so when the forecast for the day after Christmas called for clouds, but no rain, I jumped at the chance to get outdoors.
I didn’t have a lot of time to plan for a new birding location, so I decided on a familiar place where I love to hike and bird – Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area.
Colliers Mills, managed by New Jersey’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, offers over 12,000 acres of preserved Pine Barrens habitat. The area is criss-crossed with sandy roads and trails, allowing access to remote locations and (for me) much needed solitude.
Colliers Mills is dotted with old cranberry bogs, cedar swamps, and ponds to explore. This pond was created by a beaver dam and is a reliable Spring and Summer spot for Wood Duck and wading birds.
Parts of Colliers Mills are managed habitats for grassland birds and I am one of the NJ Audubon Citizen Scientist assigned to complete bird surveys during their breeding season. Last Spring, I found this Northern Bobwhite while scouting my points.
Even during Winter months, wildlife management areas like Colliers Mills are important bird areas. I found this Savannah Sparrow foraging among dried grasses in one of the managed fields while hiking on December 26th. Other birds, like the Brown Creeper at the top of this post, also rely on wildlife management areas for winter-time survival.
Until next time, Good Birding!