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Hoffman Park


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Baptist Church Road, Union Township, NJ
Phone: (908) 782-1158
www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/depts/parks/ParkAreas/Hoffman/info.htm

OWNER:  Hunterdon County

DIRECTIONS:  Turn Left out of main parking area onto Charlestown Road. After 0.4 miles turn Right at the second traffic light onto Frontage Road. After 1.4 miles continue straight, past an old church, onto Baptist Church Road. Continue for an additional 1.0 miles and turn Left into Hoffman Park entrance.   Map
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ACCESS AND PARKING:  Open daily from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. or until sunset. A portion of the park is designated for hunting by special permit during deer season. Visitors during hunting season are strongly encouraged to wear blaze orange or confine visits to Sundays. Contact the county parks department or visit www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/hunting/instruct.htm for hunting and fishing seasons and regulations.

SPECIAL FEATURES:  Check the available trail map for the location of the “hidden” ponds, some of which occur in unexpected places.

Hoffman Park
Hoffman ParkLinda Gangi
 
SITE DESCRIPTION:  This relatively undiscovered 354-acre county park is a gem for viewing wildlife, fishing, or just enjoying a good hike on paved paths through fields and woods. From the parking lot there is a sweeping view of Spruce Run Reservoir and the surrounding hills. The meadows are home to a number of birds that favor grassland habitat. There are a large number of small artificial ponds on this property, many of which are stocked with fish. Catch-and-release is the only type of fishing permitted on the property except for trout. The largest pond has been stocked with trout, but a trout stamp is needed to keep them.

DON'T MISS:  the opportunity to add a NJ threatened grassland bird species to a year- or trip-list. Park meadows are managed to provide grassland bird breeding sites.

THROUGH THE SEASONS:  
Winter:  Scan the meadows for wintering Northern Harrier. This raptor flies low, coursing the field listening for the rustling of rodents. Unlike many other raptors, this species relies on ears as well as eyes to catch prey. The relatively slow flight allows watchers good looks by binocular or scope; note the disc-like structure of the facial feathers, which aids in funneling sound to the ears. After a snowfall, check the paths for tracks of rabbit, fox and deer.
Spring:  Eastern Meadowlark and Bobolink display in the fields. The male Bobolink is a “can’t miss” bird with distinctive black, white and yellow plumage and a memorable “gurgling” song. Migrating songbirds use the wooded areas for resting and feeding. Check the pond edges for Spotted Sandpiper, and for frogs and turtles laying eggs. The ponds may attract migrating waterfowl in early spring.
Summer:  Look for breeding grassland birds such as Grasshopper, Savannah and Song Sparrows. American Goldfinch is a sure bet here also. Swallows will be chasing insects near the ponds, and birds of the flycatcher family are common. Wood Duck and Green Heron are often found on the ponds. Butterflies are abundant in the wildflower meadows and alongside the roads through the woods, which ring with the flute-like song of Wood Thrush.
Fall:  Dragonflies abound in late summer and fall. The parking lot is a good place to scan the sky for migrating raptors; American Kestrel are especially attracted to this area due to the grassland habitat. Large insects such as grasshoppers are part of a kestrel diet. American Kestrel, like other falcons, will eat “on the wing.” Watch for a mid-air kestrel to bend its head taking a bite of food held in its talons.


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