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Cape May Birding Hot Spots

Higbee Beach

The first stop for migrating songbirds and visiting birders.This wildlife management area has the last stand of dune forest in New Jersey. Fronting the Delaware bay, Higbee welcomes more than a million hungry, tired migrants on their way north and south. Traditionally, birders stand on "the dike" (actually a pile of dredge spoil) and platforms at sunrise..and watch the birds come in. After dawn, try the trails, especially sunny forest edges....where songbirds gather to feed. Good for sparrows in the late fall and winter.

Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge

This Nature Conservancy refuge is known locally as the Cape May Meadows..no doubt dating back to the time when cattle grazed here. It's near the intersection of Bayshore Rd and Sunset Blvd., on the way to Cape May Point. Endangered piping plovers nest on the refuge beach...right along the Atlantic Ocean...in the spring. Migrating and resident shorebirds, water fowl, rails and terns, herons and egrets all feed here.

Cape May Point State Park and Hawkwatch

In the fall, the hawkwatch platform is a happening place. Official hawkwatchers keep a tally sheet. And on a weekend day in the fall, it can be elbow to elbow. Migrating Sharp-shinned, Cooper's and Red- tailed hawks, Merlins, Peregrines, Northern Harriers, even Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles and Goshawks pass by on their way south.

Avalon Seawatch

The best place to see thousands of seabirds migrate down the coast in the fall. The Seawatch is on 7th St. and the Beach in the north end of Avalon. A Seawatch counter keeps tabs on the numbers and species.. November, when other spots slow down, is prime time for birding here

Stone Harbor Point

Another favorite of piping plovers. Colonies of black skimmers and least terns also nest here. The wide open mud flats are a fertile feeding ground for all kinds of shorebirds. It's been one of the best places this year to see the shorebird migration. Later in the season, you can also see migrating seabirds.

Nummy Island

Between Stone Harbor and North Wildwood, this marshy, bug infested piece of land is heaven for wading birds..you'll find all kinds of herons and egrets here. Just be careful of traffic. You have to park on the shoulder of the road. There is no parking lot.

Belleplain State Forest

The thick woods shelter all kinds of songbirds..Best in the spring...when all the birds are flitting around in their breeding plumage..

Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

(formerly Brigantine) This is a bit up the road..but it's shorebird heaven. About 45 minutes north...near Smithville. There's an eight mile driving loop that takes you right through some pretty marsh habitat.

Jake's Landing Road

Go north on Route 47 and take a turn onto a dead end road that leads to a favorite marsh spot for hawks, rails and waterfowl.

Cape May National Wildlife Refuge

One of the new natural hot spots.

 


 

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