Forsythe Wildlife Refuge Ready for Spring 2017

Oceanville, NJ – After grappling with Hurricane Sandy’s destructive aftermath for the last four and a half years, Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge is ready to show off the improvements spawned by the monster storm.

At the top of the list, the refuge’s centerpiece, the Wildlife Drive, newly repaired and  repaved, is once again open for business every day.

The wildlife drive winds through eight miles of marsh, enabling thousands of visitors a year to get a drive by view of migrating and wintering birds.

Back in November 2012, Sandy whacked the refuge with 90 mile per hour winds, washing out portions of the scenic road and upsetting the delicate balance between the fresh and salt water marshes.


Photo courtesy Forsythe Wildlife Refuge November 2012

The salty ocean water breached the fresh water ponds in spots.

Thousands of snow geese lounging in the marshes of Forsythe NWR this weekend are among the beneficiaries of the multi million dollar effort to clean up the refuge after the storm.


At least a half dozen species of over wintering ducks including some Canvasbacks, Northern Shovelers and Northern Pintails searched for an early dinner Saturday.


In addition to the waterfowl, a few early shorebirds like Oyster Catchers could be spotted.  Some hawks, like Northern Harriers, sailed over the marshes. Osprey were back on their nests – a sure sign of spring in South Jersey. One osprey was building a nest in the shadow of Atlantic City.

Forsythe is one of the most popular birding destinations in New Jersey. Different birds are moving through all the time. Because of the constant turnover, you never know what birds you’ll see next.

To help reintroduce the public to the new, improved wildlife refuge, the refuge is holding an all day Migration Sensation event on Saturday, April 29th. From 11AM to four PM, there will be a celebration of International Migratory Bird Day as well as a grand opening of the refuge’s new administrative building.
Bird walks and public education about topics like conservation and Monarch butterflies are on the agenda.
You can count on seeing a lot of birds that day as well. The end of April is a prime time for spotting large numbers of migrating birds at the refuge. The refuge, in Oceanville, can be reached from exit 41 of the Garden State Parkway.

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About Jane Kashlak

Jane Kashlak - a journalist, gardener and Cape Island resident - is writing a book.