|River Road, Flemington, Raritan Township, NJ |
Phone: (908) 782-1158
Open daily from dawn to dusk. A dirt parking lot is available but is limited to four to five cars. There is no parking along River Road. There is no fishing or hunting permitted.
Return to Route 31 and turn Right to travel north. After 2.2 miles stay Right to remain on Route 31 as it merges with U.S. Route 202 North. Continue 5.7 miles to a traffic circle and take the second exit off circle to remain on Route 31 North. After 2.3 miles turn Right at the traffic light onto CR 612/Bartles Corner Road. Proceed 0.6 miles, turn Left onto River Road and look for the parking area on the Right. Map
|Great Blue Heron||John Parke
||This is Hunterdon County’s largest freshwater marsh, supporting rare, hard-to-find marsh birds such as American and Least Bitterns, and elusive and uncommon rails such as Virginia Rail and Sora. It is a magnet for herons such as Great Blue and Green and in late summer often hosts such species as Great Egret, Snowy Egret and, occasionally, Little Blue Heron and Black-crowned Night Heron. Rarities such as Purple Gallinule have been found here in past seasons.
A stop here at dawn in late April, May or June is a must for birders. The dawn bird chorus will often include Great Horned and Eastern Screech Owls, Least Bittern, American Bittern, Virginia Rail, Sora and a multitude of passerines.
Pileated Woodpecker is resident and is possible to see in all seasons. Migrant and wintering waterfowl such as Northern Pintail, Bufflehead, Northern Shoveler, Ring-necked Duck, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall and American Wigeon can be seen during mild winters when there is no ice. Look also for Rusty Blackbird picking through leaf litter; small groups of this declining species can be found most winters – especially on the season cusp.
Grackles, Red-winged Blackbird and Wood Duck return to the site in late February and March, and bitterns and rails come back in late April and May. Migrant and breeding Neotropical passerines, such as Hooded, Kentucky, Black-throated Blue and Cerulean warblers, vireos, flycatchers, orioles and tanagers arrive from mid-April to late May. Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers are usually present in May, and Spotted may occasionally stay to breed. Spring wildflowers put on a fleeting but lovely display along the water’s edge.
Warbling and Yellow-throated Vireos, Orchard and Baltimore Orioles, Swamp Sparrow, Willow Flycatcher and Yellow Warbler nest here, and Wood Duck, Mallard, and Black Duck can be seen with their young broods. Bitterns and rails are best heard during this season at dawn and dusk, and Great Horned and Screech Owls occasionally can be heard at this time as well. Great Blue and Green Herons and Great Egrets are seen daily during the mid- to late-summer. Shorebirds such as Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and Least Sandpiper can often be found during times of low water. Listen for the delightful tinkling song of the Marsh Wren; it will make two nests, one decoy and one in which to raise its young. Butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies add to the color of the season. Ebony Jewelwing, a damselfly with iridescent green-blue body and black wings, puts on a spectacular show, dancing with the sunlight in late spring to early summer.
This is a good site for migrant passerines in September, along with lingering sandpipers and yellowlegs; herons sometimes dally into October. Migrant waterfowl begin to appear in late October and reach higher concentrations in November. Belted Kingfisher may be seen diving headfirst into the water hunting for small fish.