Spring is officially here, and with it comes the annual migration of raptors and songbirds along the Atlantic Flyway. Join the Monmouth County Audubon Society for a spring Bird Walk to look for these migrants. The event is scheduled for Saturday, April 20, on Sandy Hook.
The peninsula of Sandy Hook acts as a natural funnel to the north-flying migrants. The birds prefer flying over land to flying over water and often “lay over” at Sandy Hook to feed and renew their energy before flying over the expansive Raritan Bay and New York Harbor. This geography makes Sandy Hook an excellent place to observe many species of migrating birds in a limited area. The bird “guest list” changes daily at Sandy Hook, depending on weather conditions and food supply.
The trip will be led by members of the Monmouth County Audubon Society who are familiar with Sandy Hook and its birds. Linda Mack, past MCAS president and Sandy Hook trip leader, explains, “The lure of Sandy Hook isn’t just the birds. Sandy Hook is a peaceful, beautiful natural area with a variety of interesting habitats to explore. And spring is one of the best times to visit,” she concludes, “because of the abundance of birds and wildlife. Falcons such as the American Kestrel and Peregrine Falcon migrate north along the coast. The songbirds begin arriving in late March, along with the Osprey (listed as “Threatened” by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection) and the federally threatened Piping Plover.”
Anyone interested in participating in the event can meet at 10:00 am in the parking lot of the former Sandy Hook Visitor’s Center, located 1.8 miles north of the park entrance. This is across the road from the Spermaceti Cove observation boardwalk.
The trip is open to both members and non-members of the Monmouth County Audubon Society, and participation is free. Advance registration is not required. Participants should dress appropriately for chilly temperatures, which are common along the coast at this time of year. Binoculars are essential, and a field guide is helpful. Pets are not permitted.