Officially, it is now the Brigantine Division of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. However, most birders (and I) still call it Brigantine or Brig. The refuge is located on the New Jersey coast eleven miles from Atlantic City and about 40 or so miles north of Cape May and provides a variety of habitats that attract birds and birders in all seasons.
There is a woodlands trail by the parking lot that is supposed to be good for songbirds but I have never found it so. Another trail goes through the salt marsh and there are a couple of towers to view the birds, but the main features of Brig are the manmade freshwater impoundments. These provide great habitat for waterfowl and shorebirds. They also provide ideal breeding conditions for Greenhead Flies. The pinging noises they make as they fly into the windows and sides of your car can prove to be a little irritating and nerve racking at times. The road around the freshwater impoundments provides excellent views of the waterfowl and shorebirds and makes for very easy birding and occasionally some good photographs or videos.
Naturally, shorebirding is best during spring and fall migration, but some can always be found. Dunlin are abundant from fall through spring. Wading birds, herons and egrets, are found mostly in the warmer months, but some can also be found in the colder weather as evidenced by a Great Blue Heron walking very tentatively on the ice. This picture was taken on the day after Thanksgiving in 1996.
|It is always fun to watch Black Skimmers skimming!|
|Surprisingly, Mallards are uncommon in the summer.|
A raft of Ruddy Ducks
|A duck and two drake Green-winged Teal|
Tundra Swans end the day at Brigantine
Canada Geese and Northern Pintails at Brigantine
Box Turtle at Brigantine
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Copyright © 1998-2005 by Richard L. Becker