The Nature Club leads monthly field trips, usually a week or two after our monthly program, to many places in the Tri-State area. Many of our field trips have a specific purpose such as looking for wildflowers, birds, or insects but some trips are simply to explore new or different locations. The Nature Club conducts kayak/canoe tours, bike excursions, and hiking trips as well. Most field trips have between 15 and 40 attendees. If you have an idea for a field trip please contact the Nature Club by visiting the Contact Us page. Summaries of field trips are listed below, with the latest trips listed first. Trips are also listed on our new Meetup Page.
Upcoming Field TripsField Trip – Family Fun Stream Walk #2 (All ages are welcome!) Tuesday August 13th at 6:30pm in Ceres Park, Mantua
Trip Leaders: Maria Keefe & Paula Hayes cell 609-221-5195 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This park is a great one for summer hikes since its tall trees provide lots of shade. We'll explore what is in, on, under and around the creek as we walk in the water. We'll look for fish, frogs, turtles, mussels, animal prints, flowers, birds and more. Wear appropriate water shoes or old sneakers to walk IN the water, shoes that offer some protection are best (not flip flops). The walk to the stream is a bit longer than some of our past stream walks, but it’s a beautiful spot. We will get wet!! You may want to bring insect repellent.
Directions: From Rt 322 take Lambs Rd (635) to Pitman-Barnsboro Rd (553 Alt). Turn left onto Rt 553A. Watch for Ceres Park sign on your left after crossing over Rt 55. We’ll meet in the parking lot.
Field Trip – A Walk Through The Harold N. Peek Preserve, Millville, NJ
Saturday, August 17, 2019 10:00am to 12:00pm
Trip Leader: Rich Dilks
The Natural Lands Trust’s Harold N. Peek Preserve is a 344 acre property along the east bank of the Maurice River, just south of downtown Millville and complements the Maurice River Bluffs on the river’s west bank. Trails provide excellent views of the Maurice River and one of the largest wild rice marshes in New Jersey. Our leisurely walk will pass through a variety of habitats including pitch and Virginia pine scrubland, a hardwood swamp, a white cedar swamp and a chestnut oak upland. Be sure to bring binoculars. The Peek Preserve is an excellent birding location and bald eagle sightings are not uncommon. There are two viewing platforms, one at the field office and one at Jenkin’s Landing. In addition to birds, we will be looking at wildflowers, fungus, trees and insects.
Our walk should last about two hours and cover 2-3 miles on trails generally rated easy. Biting insects in late summer may be a problem. I strongly recommend bringing an insect repellant and dressing appropriately to minimize your exposure. Good walking shoes and a water bottle (particularly if it is a warm day) are also recommended.
Directions: Take Rt. 55 south to exit 24, then take Rt.49 west toward Millville. Follow Rt. 49 for a little over a mile to the intersection with Rt. 47 (2nd St.) in the center of Millville. Turn left (south) onto Rt. 47 and proceed for approximately 2 miles. The entrance to the Peek Preserve will be on your right just after you pass Lilac St. on your left. Pull into the small parking area in front of the closed gate For GPS use the address 2100 S. 2nd Street, Millville, NJ 08332.
Past Field TripsPast Field Trips 2019
- Hike the Black Run Preserve (February 10, 2019)
We visited Evesham's Gem, Black Run Preserve. This green space is almost 1,000 acres and is open for hiking, biking, bird watching and other passive recreation. The hike was approximately 2-3 miles of easy walking along pristine Pine Barrens wetlands, bogs, and some uplands. We explored stands of Atlantic White Cedar in the wetlands and saw members of the Heath Family of plants (huckleberry, blueberry, mountain laurel, sheep's laurel, etc). The still pristine Black Run Preserve watershed (covering over one thousand acres) is an island of native Pine Barrens plants and animals surrounded by suburbia and only fifteen miles from Philadelphia.
- Exploration of Historic Smithville Park (January 6, 2019)
This park has it all: a historic mansion, historic worker’s homes, a museum, remnants of a bicycle railroad, Smithville Lake, the Rancocas Creek, and a variety of habitats to wander. The Smithville Village was a mill operation sited on the Rancocas Creek from the 1860s to the 1920s. During the mill’s productive time it was known for its wood working machinery and providing a community for its workers. This industrial town provided its workers with recreational, artistic, and educational opportunities as well as housing.
We met at the visitor’s center near the mansion and explored the historic and natural elements of Historic Smithville Park. We walked 2- 3 miles through the park, stopping to enjoy the sites and finishing in the mature forest near the visitor’s center. The mansion was not open for tours during our visit but we were able to walk in the gardens.
Past Field Trips 2018
- Northwestern Gloucester County Christmas Bird Count (December 15, 2018)
- Fungi Hike at Chestnut Branch Park with John and Jennifer Burghardt (November 3, 2018)
We joined with John and Jennifer to explore the 9/11 Memorial Trail at Chestnut Branch Park. This trail descends from the paved path into a wooded ravine with a rich mix of mature hardwood and nut trees. On this roughly 1 ½ mile walk we identified and and examined fungi. We were shown examples of most of the “form groups” that were highlighted during the September 13 GCNC Fungi Program. We encouraged everyone to point out everything fungal, and then talk about what we found as we walked. There were fungi that we coulldn’t identify on the spot, so we took photos and collected to identify later.
- Tranquility Trails, Woolwich Township (September 15, 2018)
This was an exploration of a new trail on a site that has not previously been visited by the club. Trip Leader Karl Anderson's focus was on trees, vines, and meadow flowers and grasses, but creatures with wings were not ignored. Habitats surveyed included a wet forest and fields in various stages of ecological succession. Much of the walking was on level grass paths, some in shade, others exposed to the sun. Distance walked probably did not exceed one mile.
- Butterfly Walk in Alloway, NJ (August 11, 2018)
This was a joint walk with the Audubon Wildlife Society led by Chris Herz. This summer's walk, which focused on butterflies and their identification, took place in Alloway at the butterfly garden of Marilyn Patterson. This is always an interesting trip with a great leader, and we enjoyed earning more about these winged jewels.
- Stream Walk in Pitman (August 14, 2018)
This stream walk is an old favorite, we do this one most years and it is always filled with a surprise or two. We spent time exploring what is in, on, under and around the creek as we walked in the water. We looked at fish, frogs, turtles, mussels, animal prints, flowers, birds and more. As always, WE DID GET WET!!
- A Walk in the Woods at Timber Creek Park (Camden County), Glendora, NJ (August 11, 2018)
Timber Creek County Park in Glendora, Camden County (not to be confused with Timber Creek Park in Deptford) is a woodland oasis surrounded by the densely populated communities of western Camden County. This 128 acre preserve, formerly known as Slim’s Ranch, contains several miles of wide easy trails through rich open woods, a small woodland pond, bluffs with an excellent view of the North Branch of Big Timber Creek and a functioning beaver dam. Timber Creek Park is also noted for its 9 acre enclosed dog park.
- Stream Walk in Ceres Park, Mantua Township (July 10, 2018)
This was our first stream walk of summer 2018. Ceres Park is a great one for summer hikes since its tall trees provide lots of shade. We hiked to the other end of this park and checked out a new part of the stream this year. We explored what was in, on, under and around the creek as we walked in the water. We looked for fish, frogs, turtles, mussels, animal prints, flowers, birds and more. The walk to the stream was a bit longer than some of our past stream walks, but it was a beautiful spot. As always, We did get wet!!
- Horseshoe Crab Walk (June 15, 2018)
This walk took place along the beach in the Villas, a Bay Shore community near Cape May. On this night, beaches all around the Delaware Bay host spawning horseshoe crabs as they have for many millions of years. We began our walk as the tide began to rise and the sun sunk low in the sky. The horseshoe crabs time their egg laying for the high tide on new and full moons in May and June, this allows them to lay their eggs high on the beach. It is believed the crabs seek these conditions to make the climb up the beach easier and to lay their eggs above the rising tide on subsequent nights. As the tide rises up the Bay Shore beaches we began to see the male crabs gather along the edge of the surf awaiting the larger females. The males “cruise” along the surf waiting to latch onto a female (using a special claw) for a ride up the beach. The female will crawl up the beach to lay her eggs while the males, in tow, fertilize the eggs. We walked about 2 miles along the beach, and stopped often to see what treasures the tide brings in.
- Gloucester County Bird Quest (May 5, 2018)
- Various Bird Quest Training Sessions (April 2018)
- Riverwinds Scenic Trail (March 20, 2018)
- Ex-Village Dock Campground, Franklinville (February 10, 2018)
- Birding Along the Delaware River in Gloucester County (January 20, 2018)
This guided birding trip had us visiting several locations along the Delaware River to look for winter birds. This was a joint trip with Audubon Wildlife Society, and was led by Lloyd Shaw, - an experienced birder that knows the locations we visited well. We were able to water birds such as canvasback, cormorants, grebes, long tailed ducks, ruddy ducks.
Past Field Trips 2017
- Northwestern Gloucester County Christmas Bird Count (December 16, 2017)
- Family Moonlit Hike and Campfire at Scotland Run Park (November 4, 2017)
- Drum Circle at Tall Pines Preserve (October 6, 2017)
- Hike in Oldmans Creek Preserve (September 30, 2017)
- Purple Martin Cruise on the Maurice River (August 17, 2017)
- Stream Walk #2 in Ceres Park, Mantua Township (August 8, 2017)
- A Hike in the Union Lake Wildlife Management Area, Millville, NJ (August 6, 2017)
On Sunday, August 6, The GCNC led a leisurely walk along trails that follow the shore of Union Lake and meander through this edge of the pinelands woodlands in the 5,000 acre Union Lake Wildlife Management Area in Millville, NJ. Union Lake, the largest lake in southern New Jersey, is over four miles long and 1.2 miles across at its widest point. Beginning in the parking lot of the boat launch off Carmel Rd., our first walk followed the trail leading south from the parking area through woodlands along the lake shore. The terrain varied from high bluffs overlooking the lake to quiet coves at the shore. We passed through stands of pine, white and chestnut oak, and a low understory of heath plants, such as huckleberry, blueberry and dangleberry. Wintergreen, a low evergreen plant, carpeted several areas. Stripped wintergreen, trailing arbutus, cow wheat and bracken were seen along the path along with various mosses and mushrooms. A startling topographical feature was an erosional canyon that cut through the sandy soil from the high bluff to the lake shore.
Our second walk was on the trail leading north from the parking lot. It veered away from the lake a bit and took us through a dense woodland. We noted that the modest differences in elevation here resulted in very noticeable differences in soil moisture and plant communities. The more moist the area, the more verdant and lush our surroundings. We stopped at one point deep in the woodlands and simply listened to the quiet, which was broken only by a slight breeze or the chirping of a songbird.
- Stream Walk #1 at Pitman Memorial School (June 25, 2017)
- Riverwinds Beachcombing (July 6, 2017)
- Horseshoe Crab Walk June 10, 2017)
- Gloucester County Bird Quest (May 6, 2017)
- Various Bird Quest Training Sessions (April 2017)
- Crystal Lake Park, Burlington County (March 12, 2017)
- Moonlit Hike and Campfire at Scotland Run (February 11, 2017)
- Birding Along the Delaware River in Gloucester County (January 21, 2017)
Past Field Trips 2016
- Northwestern Gloucester County Christmas Bird Count (December 17, 2016)
- Drum Circle at Tall Pines Preserve (November 6, 2016)
- The Blue Hole (October 29, 2016)
- Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge (September 11, 2016)
- Stream Walk in Ceres Park, Mantua Township (August 16, 2016)
- Parvin State Park (August 14, 2016)
- Riverwinds Beachcombing (July 11, 2016)
- Tall Pines Walk (July 6, 2016)
- Stream Walk #1 at Pitman Memorial School (June 29, 2016)
- Duke Farms (June 12, 2016)
- Horseshoe Crab Walk (June 4, 2016)
- Unexpected Wildlife Refuge (March 20th, 2016)
We met the new UWR Director, Veronica Van Hof, and then went off to explore Unexpected Wildlife Refuge on our own. The sanctuary was founded in 1961 to preserve native wildlife and educate the public about the native wildlife. The preserve has grown over the years to 767 acres which encompasses bogs, swamps, forests, and lakes. It provides an extensive habitat for species indigenous to the Southern New Jersey Pinelands region. We hiked the Boundary Trail of the refuge with its narrow boardwalks.
- Tall Pines Walk (March 11, 2016)
We took a casual walk through New Jersey’s newest State Park. Tall Pines State Preserve straddles Mantua and Deptford Townships, was once the Eagle’s Nest Golf Course, and up until recently was slated to become a housing development. This park is still a bit rugged but we explored lovely rolling hills, beautiful meadows, a meandering creek, ponds, and wooded areas whilking for interesting flora and fauna.
- Birding at John Heinz at Tinicum National Wildlife Refuge (January 9, 2016)
Seven people, including trip leader Dan Ceravolo set out to explore this wildlife oasis that is surrounded by highways, an airport, and neighborhoods. We initially crossed the 145 acre impoundment on a boardwalk, and then walked around the eastern end of the impoundment. Despite part of the impoundment being iced over, we saw a number of different species of waterfowl including American Widgeon, Gadwall, and Hooded Merganser. Also observed were a Black Duck x Mallard Hybrid and a Gadwall x Mallard hybrid. Woodland birds were also seen and/or heard, including Norther Flicker, Brown Creeper, Rufous-sided Towhee, and Fox Sparrow. Additionally, a Bald Eagle and its nest were another highlight of the trip. In all, 49 species were tallied; not bad for a winter’s day!
- Delaware Valley Floral Group (January 8, 2016)
Every space was filled for our very special tour of Delaware Valley Floral Group’s facilities in Mantua. We were welcomed with a sign in the lobby and we proceeded to listen to an introductory presentation by our gracious and extremely knowledgeable host, Frank Soucek. Frank explained the floral wholesale business and DVFG’s growth from a small, local supplier to a major regional player serving florists from northwestern New York state and New England south to Virginia. We learned the importance of refrigeration and control of bacterial growth are to consumers receiving a quality floral product and how the floral industry has evolved into an international, sustainable and socially progressive business. While we followed the process the flowers go through from receipt from growers in the US and other countries to packing to fill local florists’ orders we saw so many ooh and ahh producing, gorgeous flowers. Topping our visit off Frank had two additional treats for our group – seeing Matsui Nursery’s greenhouses full of exotic orchids and a bunch of lovely fresh tulips for everyone!
Past Field Trips 2015
- Northwestern Gloucester County Bird Count: (December 19, 2015)
- Guided Hike of Saddler’s Woods (November 22, 2015)
Saddler’s Woods is a 25 acre urban forest located in Haddon Township that contains old growth forest, young woodlands, meadow areas, and the headwaters of Newton Creek. Saddler’s Woods is one of the last remaining old growth forests in the Eastern U.S. with beech and oak trees over 200 years old. This area gives us a glimpse of what the woods would have looked like when the Lenni Lenape inhabited the area prior to European settlement. This land is part of a historic area named for escaped slave Joshua Saddler who escaped a Maryland Plantation by way of the Underground Railroad. He settled on the land which is now preserved. We toured the woods with a member of the Saddler’s Woods Conservation Association.
- Family Moonlit Hike and Campfire at Scotland Run Park (October 24, 2015)
- Biking Through Elephant Swamp (September 11, 2015)
On a nearly perfect day for bike riding, seven GCNC members and guests started in Aura and took a ride south on the Elk Township bicycle trail. The group rode approximately ten miles round trip past corn fields, swamps and woodlands… including the oddly mysterious Elephant Swamp. The biking trail is an old rail bed that is level, with a smooth grade, and gravel surface. We stopped at several places along the way to look at interesting plants, trees, and even a good old-fashioned swimming hole. The group rode south to Elmer and enjoyed a delicious lunch at Dodge’s Market. After lunch, the group took the return ride back to their cars in Elk Township.
- A Summer Walk at Ridley Creek State Park, PA (August 2, 2015)
We visited Ridley Creek State Park in the rolling piedmont of upper Delaware County. The park consists of over 2,600 acres of hills, woodlands and meadows along the banks of Ridley Creek and contains 12 miles of trails. In addition to wildflowers, this is a good area for birding, butterflies and dragonflies. Another point of interest in the park is Hunting Hill, a mansion built in 1914 around a 1789 stone farm house. It is now the park headquarters.
- Horseshoe Crab Walk (June 13, 2015)
On this nighttime field trip, we walked along the beach in the Villas, a Bay Shore community near Cape May. At this time of year, beaches all around the Delaware Bay host spawning horseshoe crabs as they have for many millions of years.
- Invasive Species Removal Work Party in Wenonah Conservation Area (May 16, 2015)
On Saturday, May 16th, members of the Gloucester County Nature Club worked along with the Wenonah Environmental Commission to remove invasive species from the Wenonah Trail area. This was needed to protect trees in the conservation area from fast-growing, invasive plants like English Ivy and Wisteria.
- Bird Quest Training Sessions (Various dates in April)
- Family Moonlit Hike and Campfire at Scotland Run Park (March 7, 2015)
- Tour of Kaolin Mushroom Farm (February 28, 2015)
On February 28, we visited Kennett Square, PA “The Mushroom Capital of the World;” 65% of all mushrooms consumed in the United States are grown in this part of Chester County. It all began in 1896 when two local florists, wanting to use the empty space under the tables in their green houses, started growing mushrooms. On this tour we toured the mushroom farm with the grower Dennis Melrath. We saw how mushrooms are grown, harvested, and prepared for sale. We heard the history of the Kaolin Farm. The farm sells their mushrooms under the name South Mill. To see some photos from this trip, click on the following link: Tour of Kaolin Mushroom Farm.
- Eagles at Conowingo Dam (February 8, 2015)
Trip Leaders Paula and Brian Hayes led a trip to Conowingo Dam' which is the best place nearby to see Bald Eagles in the winter. Large groups of them feast on the fish that pass through the dam on the Susquehanna River. A large parking area afforded a good view of the river and we were able to watch eagle feeding and interactive behavior. Eagles were also perched on electrical towers and in nearby trees. Depending on the weather and how much open water there is you can easily spot 50 or more eagles here in a morning. Several species of gulls were also present, but the eagles were the focus.
Past Field Trips 2014
- Northwestern Gloucester County Bird Count: (December 19, 2014)
- Estell Manor Park (November 22, 2014)
We went on a hike at this gem in the Atlantic County Park System. The park has a well-defined trail system, including the 1.5 mile boardwalk we walked, a great nature center, access to the tidally active Great Egg Harbor River, and two great playgrounds. Our hike lasted about 2 hours as we explored the habitats and natural areas of this park. The trails tend to be sandy and though the park has no major elevations you should expect to be walking on uneven surfaces. We explored the Pinelands habitat and we also stopped to see some how this area played an important role in history. This parks lands were once a glassworks and a munitions productions facility during WWI. The nature center included terrific exhibits on the animals and plants of the park, including some live animals.
- Fall Migration at National Park Dredge Spoils (September 21, 2014)
Local birder Dan Ceravolo led this trip to one of last fall’s hottest migration spots. We expected to see a variety of shorebirds as well as migrating songbirds and other passerines. On this trip we visited the National Park Dredge Spoils which is located on the Delaware river and has woods, marsh, fields and water, making it great for a wide variety of migrating species.
- Field Trip – Painting in the Park (June 24, 2014)
We used watercolors to create our own unique masterpieces at Atkinson Park. This trip was not a lesson, but meant to be an exploration of your creative side, an opportunity to create. To see some photos from this trip, click on the following link: Painting in the Park.
- Black Run Preserve (March 16, 2014)
In mid-March, the GCNC sponsored a field trip to Evesham's Gem, Black Run Preserve. This 1,000 acre publicly owned tract of pristine pine land habitats lies on the western border of the Pine Barrens. The still pristine Black Run Preserve watershed (covering over one thousand acres) is an island of native Pine Barrens plants and animals surrounded by suburbia and only fifteen miles from Philadelphia. It is open for hiking, biking, bird watching and other passive recreation. Our guide for this trip waas John Volpa, a member of Friends of Black Run Preserve. John took our group on a most enjoyable and informative walking tour of the Preserve. Highlights included visiting a majestic stand of Atlantic White Cedars rising out of a sphagnum bog and spotting some Lesser Scaups at one of the ponds. The hike took us through pristine Pine Barrens wetlands, bogs, and some uplands. To see some photos from this trip, click on the following link: Black Run Preserve.
Past Field Trips 2013
- Duke Farms (October 20, 2013)
Six nature lovers ventured north just above Princeton and visited Duke Farms on a spectacular October day. Our visit started at the visitor’s center watching a beautifully done short movie explaining the site’s history and evolution from merely a stipulation in Doris Dukes’ will to establish a nature preserve in the face of suburban sprawl in the nation’s most densely populated state to embracing a vision to be a model of environmental stewardship to inspire people to start building a more sustainable future. The displays and video told the story of how the property has used sustainable restoration and management techniques. These include: buildings architecturally designed to use natural light effectively and collect rainwater to recycle; solar and geothermal energy that provide all the power the property needs; plantings of native plants, rain gardens, grasslands and pollinator habitat. On our self-guided tour we alternately walked the trails and rode the tram (to most efficiently use our time -there is much more to explore here than you can see in one visit) to “hit the highlights”. We watched millions of gallons of water pumped from the Raritan River flow down the Great Falls, checked out the ruins of a mansion started but never completed above the foundation line, visited the arboretum housing thousands of orchid varieties and identified or tried to identify plants, trees, birds, butterflies and insects as we went. Duke Farms acknowledges it is a work in progress and has done a world class job. It is truly inspiring and offers much for all of us to take away to apply to our individual lives as well as to our efforts as a club maintaining our natural areas in Gloucester County and preserving new ones.
Past Field Trips 2012
- Birding Wheelabrator and other local Hotspots (September 22, 2012)
The day was bright and sunny and the temperature was in the sixties – a perfect day for fall birding. Gary Lizzi and Lloyd Shaw led a combined group of about 25 Gloucester County Nature Club, Audubon Wildlife Society, and NJ Audubon members in birding at three locations: Wheelabrator Refuge, Red Bank Battlefield, and Riverwinds. Scarlet tanager, blue-headed vireo, peregrine falcon and magnolia warbler were some of the less common species sighted.
- Wheelabrator Butterfly Walk (August 11, 2012)
Clouds were threatening, but seven participants joined leaders Chris Herz & Sandra Keller for a mid-morning butterfly field trip at Wheelabrator Wildlife Refuge. We began the field trip by observing and identifying as many butterflies as we could in the small garden next to the parking area. This small garden, planted with three large butterfly bushes attracts a number of species including Monarchs, Spicebush Swallowtail, a Painted Lady, and a variety of grass skippers including Sachems and Broad-wing Skippers. Presenting an id challenge a large dark swallowtail turned out to be a dark form female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. The days’ list was off to a good start. The sun and humidity quickly warmed the morning. We also observed a Spicebush caterpillar in a folded leaf of a sassafras sapling and found an early instar Monarch caterpillar in one of the common milkweed patches along the trail. As we neared the river, a cooling breeze brought some relief as did some of the shade provided by the trees outlining the trail. We totaled 26 species here. We also noted several Hummingbird Clearwing Moths nectaring on the butterfly bush and we had a Luna Moth perched on a wooden stacking crate inside the fence of the Wheelabrator plant. We concluded the trip with a walk at nearby Riverwinds Scenic Trail with 18 species adding an additional 4 species including American Copper, American Lady, Least Skipper, and Crossline Skipper. An Orange Sulphur was seen at the Community Center field on our way out with our final sighting total of 31 butterfly species seen. Thank you for the keen observations of all who attended. - Chris Herz & Sandra Keller
- Birding the Delaware Bayshore (March 24, 2012)
On this trip to the marshlands south of Dividing Creek, we saw eagles, eagles, and more eagles! Seems like every place we stopped, we saw another half a dozen eagles. Eagles flying. Eagles perched. Old eagles. Young eagles. Bald eagles. Really amazing! Of course, that’s not all we saw. Osprey, northern harriers, and red-tailed hawks made their appearance. A great horned owl on an easily-seen nest was a treat! Great blue herons, a scattering of waterfowl, four species of gulls, dunlin, greater yellowlegs, wild turkey, and a few resident passerines rounded out the day’s total. The weather was typical for the season – somewhat overcast, a bit breezy, cool but not really cold. The trip was led by Joseph Esterly.
- Wheelabrator Waste to Energy Facility, Westville (February 18, 2012)
Our Wheelabrator facility tour began with almost 30 participants meeting our guide, Jerry, in the conference room. Jerry told us a little bit about himself and the Wheelabrator corporation, answered some great questions and then gave the group a general overview of the process from trash trucks dumping their contents to the operation of the turbines to how NJ carefully monitors the plant's emissions. He explained that the plant operates 24/7 and has a contract to accept trash from Gloucester County communities including Mantua and Pitman. After watching a short video where we learned the technical details about the fires, the turbines, and the generators, one half of our group donned hard hats and safety glasses and followed Jerry to the Control Room.
Meanwhile, the other half of our group took advantage of the sunny 50+ degree day to explore the wildlife sanctuary and wait for the 2nd shift tour. In the Control Room we watched the fires burning on the video monitors and Gerald explained what indicators he looks for to make sure all is running as it should. He explained how the composition and the condition of the trash (wet or dry) effects the burn and why that is important. Next was the Crane Room platform to observe the crane operator build a wall of trash. Jerry explained how important it is to "fluff" the trash to make sure there is air content to ensure a proper burn and to mix up the loads so there is not too much of any one type of trash in any one load going into the fire at one time. The Crane Room overlooks a building full of trash. It reminded me of a stories-tall version of the arcade games where you try to manuever the claw to grab a prize from a pile below. However there is no prize here and to look at a refuse wall taller than most buildings, where you can pick out discrete everyday items that we all throw away like sheets of plastic, pieces of wood, cartons - stuff that we all generate, really made me stop to think about what I could do to waste less. The groups' last stop was in the bowels of the plant among the pipelines to take a look at the fires. Several people noted that there was no ash and how non-smelly it was! We gave Jerry a big Thank You and told him to have a great weekend and we'd see him at Bird Quest! The trip was coordinated by Jayne Rhynard.
- Winter Waterfowling at Local Hot Spots (January 28, 2012)
Our combined GCNC-Audubon Wildlife Society trip to find and study waterfowl was a great success and will be repeated next year! We struggled to find some species, but we managed several canvasback, common mergansers, bufflehead, tundra swans, with a small flock of pintail at Floodgates being a surprise. We decided to head south to the Mannington Marsh-Salem County area after several stops in Gloucester County. We picked up several more duck species – black duck, gadwall, wigeon, and greenwinged teal. The unanimous bird-of-the-day honors, though, went to the nine sandhill cranes we got to see and heard very well at Mannington. The weather was too nice - hence the very low numbers of waterfowl around. Karl Anderson and I look forward to seeing the differences a “normal” winter will bring. The trip was led by Sandra Keller.
Past Field Trips 2011
- Birding at Forsythe NWR (November 13, 2011)
This trip met at the refuge parking area at 8:30 AM, and lasted till early afternoon. The first hour was spent birding the shrubbery and woodland edges near the parking area, where robins, eastern bluebirds, and cedar waxwings were feeding on the fruits of holly and red cedar. Yellow-rumped warblers and a yellow-bellied sapsucker also dropped in. The rest of the morning was taken up by the eight-mile auto tour. About 35 species of birds were seen during the day, including twelve species of waterfowl, pied-billed and horned grebes, large numbers of dunlin, several bald eagles, brants and snow geese, and northern harriers (lots of them). The weather was slightly overcast and somewhat windy, with temperatures in the high 60s. After lunch, a brief visit was made to the Absecon Wildlife Management Area. The trip was led by Jonathan Stillwell.
- Amico Island Birding (October 8, 2011)
About 40 species of birds were seen on this morning trip to 55-acre Amico Island, a Burlington County park at the confluence of Rancocas Creek and the Delaware River. This included six species of warblers, including Tennessee, Nashville, blackpoll, and magnolia in addition to common yellowthroat and hundreds of yellow-rumps. Also seen were bald eagle, belted kingfisher, and osprey. A few butterflies and late-blooming wildflowers were taken note of. We walked about two miles on wide, level mowed trails. The weather was lovely – a cool, bright, late summer day, with just a few hints of autumn foliage. The trip was very ably led by Gary and Marge Lizzi.
- Pine Barrens (September 24, 2011)
Despite predictions for bad weather, this day dawned only slightly overcast, and stayed that way except for an occasional burst of bright sunshine. Several Pine Barrens forest types were studied. Walter’s greenbrier and smooth winterberry were found growing near Shinn’s Branch. A stroll along the shore of Pakim Pond produced pitcher plants, three species of sundews, striped bladderwort, and zig-zag bladderwort, this last species being represented only by its tiny cleistogamous flowers. Dwarf clubmoss, foxtail clubmoss, and curly grass fern were found. Perhaps the best find of the day was the beautiful pine barrens gentian, a signature plant of the Pine Barrens. The trip was led by Karl Anderson.
- Riverwinds Scenic Trail Butterfly Walk (August 13, 2011)
This trip began with a leisurely walk around the mile-long Riverwinds Trail, which found seventeen species of butterflies including hackberry emperor, Zabulon and silver-spotted skippers, spicebush and tiger swallowtails, American copper, red-spotted purple, red-banded hairstreak, eastern tailed blue, pearl crescent, monarch, question mark, buckeye, cabbage white, summer azure, red admiral, and Horace’s duskywing. This was followed up by a visit to the butterfly garden at the Wheelabrator Wildlife Refuge, where American lady, northern broken-dash, and broad-winged, crossline, dun, Peck’s, swarthy, tawny-edged, and Delaware skippers brought the day’s list to 27 species. The trip leader was Chris Herz.
- Cedar Lake (July 10, 2011)
Some of the birds seen on this trip included bald eagle, red-shouldered hawk (nice looks at a low-flying bird), white-eyed vireo, and yellow-billed cuckoo. Redroot, Canada Saint John’s-wort, pickerelweed, golden hedge-hyssop, Small’s yellow-eyed grass, meadow-beauty, and bladderworts were in bloom. The small pink flowers of thread-leaved sundew were particularly abundant, and along with the white flowers of spatulate-leaved sundew made an attractive border along the pond edges. Southern leopard frogs seemed to be everywhere, cricket frogs were numerous, and good looks were gotten of the usually elusive carpenter frog. For the “odies” there were at least a dozen species of dragonflies and damselflies, including swamp spreadwing and an early-season yellow-legged meadowhawk. Trip leaders were Karl Anderson and Gale Cannon.
- Salem County Early Spring Birding (March 12, 2011)
On Saturday March 12 in Salem County 4 intrepid early risers viewed 49 bald eagles as they flew out of a roost at dawn. After collecting seven additional later-arriving participants, the group of 11 visited some bucolic sites and waterscape overlooks around the Salem River and saw and heard 44 species of birds. The trip ended at Marilyn Patterson’s nature preserve in Alloway where she identified 3 species of frogs calling and pointed out praying mantis cocoons scattered throughout a field. The trip was led by Jonathan Stillwell.
Past Field Trips 2010
- Wheelabrator Wildlife Refuge (September 18, 2010)
Some of the birds seen on this trip were chestnut-sided, magnolia, and black-and-white warblers, ovenbird, common yellowthroat, blue-headed vireo, bald eagle, phoebe, and wild turkey, plus the usual resident goldfinch, cardinal, chickadee, house finch, and the like. Butterflies seen included monarch, viceroy, orange sulfur, clouded sulfur, variegated fritillary, tailed blue, red admiral, spicebush swallowtail, and red-spotted purple, to name just a few. Camphorweed, and several species of goldenrods and bonesets, were in bloom. The variety of trees along this mile-long trail was noteworthy. One tree species puzzled everybody in the group, including the leaders, for a while. But fortunately trip participant Frank Eggert had a tree field guide with him, and after a bit of study the trees were identified as Amur corktrees, a potentially invasive species that had not previously been recorded from New Jersey. The weather was perfect – not too warm, with blue skies and just a hint of autumn foliage color. There were ten participants, plus trip leaders Gale Cannon and Karl Anderson.
- Brendan Byrne State Forest (June 12, 2010)
The weather was pleasant and the fauna and flora cooperative during this excursion to a 32,000-acre Pine Barrens preserve. Oak forests, pine forests, cedar swamps, and a lakeshore were visited. The typical heath shrubs, oaks, and pines of the Barrens were seen. Three species of orchids were found, and five species of carnivorous plants, including three species of sundew. Some additional plants were cranberry, early pipewort, goat’s-rue, orange milkwort, laurel-leaved greenbrier, curly-grass fern, and the rare adder’s-tongue fern. Birds seen or heard included great crested flycatcher, eastern bluebird, pine warbler, and prairie warbler. Herps included spotted turtle, southern leopard frog, Fowler’s toad, carpenter frog, and wood frog, this last species being quite unusual for the region. The trip was led by Karl Anderson.
- A trip to Manasquan Reservoir was held on March 20, 2010. Birds seen during this trip included bald eagle (at a nest); osprey (also at a nest); six species of waterfowl; and a pair of bluebirds, apparently just-arrived from their winter quarters, who immediately upon getting “on territory” began to investigate a nesting box. Other vertebrates seen included eastern painted turtle and a somewhat out-of-normal-habitat diamondback terrapin. Mourning cloak and eastern comma butterflies were seen. The weather was absolutely perfect. The environmental center is one of the best in New Jersey, with a nice array of well-maintained displays, plus some live fish, reptiles, and amphibians. The Manasquan Reservoir is part of the Monmouth County Park System. Too bad there is nothing like it in Gloucester County. The trip was led by Jonathan Weir.
Past Field Trips 2009
- A trip to Brigantine Refuge was held on Sunday November 15, 2009. The trip was led by Karl Anderson and Gale Cannon.
Over fifty species of birds were seen on this trip, including bittern, tricolored heron, bald eagle, peregrine, white-rumped sandpiper, long-billed dowitcher, snow bunting, and a fair variety of waterfowl including snow goose, northern shoveler, ruddy duck, and hooded merganser. The weather was overcast in the morning, but by mid-day was warm, calm, and sunny. There were eight participants, plus the trip leaders.
- A trip to Stafford Forge Wildlife Management Area was held on Saturday September 12th. The trip was led by Karl Anderson and Gale Cannon.
Despite dire weather predictions, this trip took place as scheduled, with four hardy participants (plus the two leaders). A good variety of pine barrens specialty plants were found in bloom, including bog aster, slender aster, showy aster, blazing star, Maryland golden-aster, smooth gerardia, thread-leaved gerardia, Nuttall’s lobelia, fern-leaved false foxglove, several species of goldenrods and bonesets, and the usual pitcher plant and sundews. Unfortunately, a bog that we had hoped to visit was flooded, a result of extremely heavy local rains the previous night, so we missed curly-grass fern and a few other species. A few birds were also seen, including osprey, great blue heron, great egret, and blue-gray gnatcatcher. To see some photos from this trip, click on the following link: Stafford Forge Wildlife Management Area.
- Spring Wildflowers of The Wenonah Conservation Area (April 19, 2009. Led by Rich DIlks): We met at Wenonah Lake under lightly overcast skies on a calm and temperate Sunday morning to explore the woodlands of the Wenonah Conservation Area and to acquaint ourselves with the early spring wildflowers along the wooded trails and in the marshes of this inner coastal plain public nature reserve. The spring ephemerals were making their brief annual display and the highlights included areas with large carpets of Spring Beauty, Trout Lily and Canada Mayflower, the later having unfurled its foliage but not yet in bloom. Showy bright yellow Marsh Marigolds in the Mantua Creek marsh were contrasted by the nearby tiny green flowers of Golden Saxifrage only 1/8” across. We viewed patches of Wood Anemone, Dwarf Ginseng and Common Blue Violets. Along with woodland favorites such as Jack-in-the-pulpit and Wood Rush, troublesome invasives such as Lesser Celandine and Garlic Mustard were seen in abundance. The fiddleheads of several species of ferns were rising in graceful curves along the trails and other non-flowering plants we encountered were the primeval looking Field Horsetail, Shinning Clubmoss and Tree Clubmoss. One unexpected sighting occurred while the group was looking out over Mantua Creek from the Mantua Ave, bridge to observe the beaver lodge and dam. There in a tree, in plain sight was a Bald Eagle (its white head “like a golf ball in a tree”, someone said). Other interesting birds observed included Barn and Rough-winged Swallows, a Greater Yellowlegs and numerous songbirds. By mid afternoon we had reached the end of our long walk at the Japanese teahouse pavilion near Comey’s Lake, where the group relaxed in a tranquil setting sipping cold drinks. We had walked over 4.5 miles and enjoyed a day in this local woodland as it came alive again in the greening of spring.
- Conowingo Dam (January 18, 2009. Led by Jonathan Stillwell): On a relatively mild January Sunday morning 15 people traveled to Conowingo Dam to view wintering Bald Eagles. We saw about 60 individual eagles of various ages and discussed aspects of their plumage as they mature. Some interesting behaviors were observed including hunting, eating and interactions between eagles. We also got to see a nice group of Bufflehead and some Hooded Mergansers, plus Goldeneye, Pied Billed Grebe, Winter Wren, Ruby Crowned Kinglet and Belted Kingfisher. Also spotted were 30 Great Blue Heron in a row. Thanks to Karl Anderson for spotting the Lesser Black Back Gull.
Past Field Trips 2008
Field Trips 2007
- A trip to Ft Mott State Park & vicinity was held on Saturday November 8th, at 10:00 AM to early afternoon. The Trip was led by Karl Anderson.
While it was a rainy day, we did some walking on the Finn's Point Interpretive Trail, looked for waterfowl on the river, and did a bit of winter botany. We also followed follow parts of the self-guiding tour around the fort.
- October '08: On Sunday, October 26th, we took a field trip to the 319-acre Cedar Lake Wildlife Management Area in the lower part of Gloucester County. During this field trip we walked along the shoreline of horseshoe-shaped Cedar Lake, walked the edges of an old cranberry bog, and walked the trails in the surrounding woodlands as well. We spent several hours examining anything and everything interesting: carnivorous plants such as the spatulate-leaved sundew, colorful British soldier lichen, native wild cranberries, and the numerous tiny chorus frogs ever-present along the edges of the bog. We were fortunate enough to have Karl Anderson along on the trip, and as always he shared his vast botanical knowledge and interesting stories with everyone. (Thanks Karl!) To see some photos from this trip, click on the following link: Cedar Lake Wildlife Management Area.
- June '08: A field trip to Unexpected Wildlife Refuge was held on Saturday June 21, 2008. The ten participants were much impressed by the varied habitats here, which included hardwood swamps, pine forests, oak forests, a grassy clearing, the edges of sand roads, a large shallow lake (once a cranberry bog), and a sedge-dominated vernal pond. Birds seen or heard included prothonotary and prairie warblers, scarlet tanager, great crested flycatcher, great blue heron, ruby-throated hummingbird, indigo bunting, tree swallow, and numerous eastern bluebirds. Some plant species in bloom included colic-root, bulblet loosestrife, Virginia willow, yellow pond lily, bur-reed, and a bog-loving variety of jack-in-the pulpit. Butterflies and dragonflies also vied for the group's attention. The trip was led by refuge director Sarah Summerville. To see some photos from this trip, click on the following link: Unexpected Refuge.
- May '08: On Sunday May 18, 2008 we went to Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve, which is located about two miles south of New Hope, Pa. The preserve consists of 134 acres of woodlands and meadows dedicated to the preservation, conservation and display of Pennsylvania’s native flora. Our tour took us through a section of the Preserve including the Penn's Woods Arboretum, the Marsh Marigold Trail, the Azalea Trail and the Cabin Walk. Our knowledgeable guide spoke about forest ecology, plant succession and pointed out trees such as American Hornbeam, Sugar Maple, Shagbark Hickory and Tulip Tree; shrubs such as Spicebush and native Rhododendrons and herbaceous woodland plants such as Maidenhair Fern, Quaker Ladies, Golden Alexander and Mayapple. Among the many other species we observed in bloom at the Preserve were Virginia Spiderwort, Canadian Anemone, Eastern Columbine, Yellow lady’s Slipper, Yellow Trillium, Fire Pink, Shooting star, Golden Star, Dutchman’s Pipe and Flame Azalea.
We also took and excursion to the tower atop of Bowman’s Hill a short drive away. The stone observation tower stands 125 feet high on the Bowman’s Hill summit. It was built in 1930 and commemorates the site used as an observation post by Washington’s army during the crossing of the Delaware in December 1776.
- April '08: Salem County Birding - On Saturday April 12, 2008, nine members of the GCNC joined a similarly-sized contingent from the Rancocas Nature Center, for a spectacular birding tour of several Salem County sites. The leader was Lloyd Shaw. Locations visited included the Pedricktown Marshes, Featherbed Lane (just west of its junction with Kings Highway), and Mannington Marsh. A good variety of shorebirds, waterfowl, raptors, and passerines were seen. Some species of particular interest were pectoral sandpiper, greater and lesser yellowlegs, glossy ibis, eastern meadowlark, snipe, kestrel, palm warbler, great horned owl (on a nest) and bald eagle (also on a nest). In addition to birds, roadsides were adorned with veronicas, violets, mustards, dandelions, and other mostly non-native but attractive plants. The weather was cool and dry except for one brief shower.
- March '08: A field trip to Lake Nockamixon and Ringing Rocks took place on Saturday March 15, 2008. Lake Nockamixon is a large reservoir with lots of opportunity for outside activities. The surroinding terrain was very rocky and clearly shows the boulder line left from the last ice age
The next stop on the trip was a small park called Ringing Rocks Park. This park has a small boulder field with a unique feature. Many of the boulders, when struck with a metal object will produce a ringing or bell-like sound. Yes, that’s correct: when you hit these rocks with a hammer you can get a music-like ringing sound. Many people have experimented with these special properties over the years including a concert and several symphonic recordings. Several folks brought along hammers, and had fun "ringing" the rocks. While there we also visited a beautiful 30 foot tall waterfall at the park which is actually the largest waterfall in Bucks County.
- February '08: A field trip to observe Winter Waterfowl on Long Beach Island was held on Saturday February 16, 2008. Over thirty species of birds were seen on this trip. Some of the seasonal specialties included brant, harlequin duck, long-tailed duck, redhead (four of them!), common loon (fifty or more), red-throated loon, purple sandpiper, dunlin, ruddy turnstone, great cormorant, red-breasted and hooded mergansers, and northern harrier. Harbor seal was a surprise sighting! The weather was perfect - cool, of course, but sunny, with blue skies and very little wind. There were seventeen participants. The leaders were Gale Cannon and Karl Anderson. To see some photos from this trip, click on the following link: Winter Waterfowl at Long Beach Island.
Field Trips 2006
- December '07: The 2007 Gloucester County Christmas Bird Count was very successful. We had 50 participants, of which most of the folks were members of the Nature Club. Seen (if confirmed by the National Audubon Society) was a record 101 species. 100 species was never reached in prior years. There were some rare 'finds' such as the Ash-throated Flycatcher seen by Gary and Margie Lizzi and Great-crested Flycatcher seen by the Cassel party. Having a nice day weather-wise was instrumental in having an exceptional count too! There was open water everywhere and light wind. Some species were typical in numbers whereas others seemed to be more apparent like nuthatches (both types), Hooded Mergansers, Black Vultures, and Great Blue Herons. There were subtle increases to a few species over last year on birds like American Kestral, Northern Harrier, and White-crowned Sparrow. Wow, have Wild Turkey numbers exploded however. That's a good thing. Of continued concern is the lack of gamebirds other than Turkey with one small covey of Bobwhite seen and no Ring-necked Pheasant. The 2008 count will be on Saturday, December 13. Please mark your calendar and plan to bring another friend!
- November '07: A trip entitled Voices from the Land: Art in Natural Landscapes was held on Saturday November 3, 2007 at Ceres Park in Mantua Township, NJ. Members of the club tried their hand at producing art using natural materials in the style of artist Andy Goldsworthy. To see some of their creations, click on the following link: Nature Art.
- October '07: A field trip to Franklin Parker Preserve was held on Saturday October 6, 2007. During this trip, Dr. Emile DeVito of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation showed nine members of the GCNC around portions of the NJCF's 9400-acre Franklin Parker Preserve, near Chatsworth. Of particular interest were the steps being taken to create high-diversity Atlantic white cedar swamps on lands that have been a cranberry monoculture for many years; these include bulldozing the "bogs" to restore natural topography and hydrology, before planting trees. Birds seen included belted kingfishers, wood duck, yellow-rumped warbler, merlin, snipe, and a few others. Wildflowers and plants of interest included showy aster, stiff aster, Maryland golden aster, downy goldenrod, golden club, sand myrtle, poison sumac, and sand jointweed, a.k.a. "fairy popcorn", as well as a colony of the rare and beautiful pine barrens gentian. For pictures from this interesting trip, just click on the following link: Franklin Parker Preserve.
- September '07: A field trip to Amico Island Park was held on Saturday September 15, 2007. For pictures from this interesting trip, just click on the following link: Amico Island Park.
- May '07: Wenonah Woods Conservation Area - We walked the Loop Trail around Wenonah Lake, and noted the primeval-looking Cinnamon Ferns and Sweet Bay Magnolias on the lake shore. We noticed the differences in leaf and bark of some of the 11 species of Oaks in the Conservation Area. On a nearby tree branch in a bright patch of sunlight we saw a pair of Scarlet Tanagers. We continued our walk and observed the “living fossil” fern allies Field Horsetail, Shining Clubmoss and Tree Clubmoss. Some of the unusual trees we encountered were a grove of Kentucky Coffeetrees, a small Pawpaw patch, a Fringetree in flower, Tulip Poplars that stand 80 feet tall, Umbrella Magnolia and the only recognized native stand of Shingle Oak in the State of New Jersey. From the bridge over Mantua Creek, we looked out on the marsh and saw a beaver lodge. We enjoyed Pinxter Flower in bloom, Rattlesnake Weed, andn Downy Rattlesnake Plantain, and saw Pink Ladies’ Slipper blooming at two locations. Also visited were some of Wenonah’s historical sites in the Conservation Area: Clay Hill, (the site of an old railroad trestle circa 1863), the small stone ornamental pool on the Garden Trail and the dam ruin at the now vanished Green’s Lake. We ended our walk at the restored Japanese Teahouse at Comey’s Lake where we sat sipping cold drinks in a delightful woodland setting. Trip leader was Rich Dilks.
- May '07: BirdQuest VIII; Gloucester County - This large 1/2 day event sponsored by the Club was held on Saturday, May 5, 2007 to tally all bird species in Gloucester County, and was a great success. For pictures, just click on the following link: Bird Quest 2007.
- April '07: Assunpink WMA Wildflowers and Birds - During this field trip we looked for waterfowl on several lakes, walked a mile or two along roads and trails, and did a quick excursion to the historical town of Roosevelt (aka the Jersey Homesteads Historical District). About 40 species of birds were seen, including palm, pine, and yellow-rumped warblers. Wildflowers were scarce, cold weather earlier in the season having delayed their emergence by at least a week. But with some searching we did find spring beauty, trout lily, and wood anemone in bloom, and mayapple, dwarf ginseng and a few others in bud. Trip leaders were Gale Cannon and Karl Anderson.
- April '07: Bird Quest Training Sessions, Gloucester County - Several different training sessions at various locations in Gloucester County. These are all leading up to Bird Quest VIII.
- March '07: Conowingo Dam - Our trip to the Conowingo Dam on March 11 turned into a study of Eagles. At first we were only able to locate 1 eagle around the towers, but as we started to walk the old railroad bed, we spotted many more (matures and adults). We had nice views of them interacting. Trip Leader was Bob Duke.
We only saw 19 species of birds, with all but the waterfowl flying directly over our heads at one point or another. Our list included Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Osprey (one was perched directly on a power line), and both species of Vultures.
- February '07: Cumberland County Birding - On February 24th, we had a field trip to Cumberland County to do some winter birding. Despite the fact that it was a cold day, 24 hardy souls participated. Trip Leader was Bob Baruzzi. Click the following link for pictures taken that day: Cumberland County Birding Trip Pictures
- January '07: Backyard Feeder Trip, Gloucester County - We visited homes of 10 Club Members and watched the birds that show up at their feeders. This was a wonderful way to spend a cold Saturday morning. Many of you would agree that birders and Nature Club members in particular are as delightful as the birds. It was tempting to linger over a cup of coffee and enjoy the feeder activity at each stop on the tour.
The backyards ranged from small lots in developments to properties with many wooded acres. Our Gloucester County winter birds were feeding happily in all of them. Common to each yard were many feeders of various types. Sunflower seeds, millet, corn, peanuts, peanut butter, thistle seed and several kinds of suet were being used to attract the different species. Good shelter and water were also provided. Some folks had heated birdbaths or running water for their birds. We're sure that club members who made the trip were inspired to put up more feeding stations. Click the following link for pictures taken that day: Feeder Tour Pictures
Field Trips 2005
- December '06: Audubon Christmas Bird Count; Gloucester County circle - This traditional event helps scientists to understand bird trends and population fluctuations. There were 53 participants in this count, and overall 93 different species of birds were seen in the Gloucester County circle. Out of this number, 11 species were seen in each of the 13 counting areas.
- November '06: Pine Barrens Hike - This four-mile, four-hour stroll in Brendan Byrne State Forest took us through upland and lowland pine barrens, oak forests, cedar swamps, and a series of cranberry bogs and reservoirs. Some of the distinctive plant species of the Pine Barrens were noted, and the general ecology of the area was discussed. Birds included the expected chickadees, kinglets, and titmice, but also Cooper's hawk, swamp sparrow, and a flock of tundra swans. The weather was cool but calm, with periods of bright sunshine. The autumn foliage was colorful, with the greens of the pines and cedars making a pleasant contrast to the reds of maples and huckleberries and the yellows and browns of oaks. The trip leaders were Gale Cannon and Deb Maka. There were 23 participants. Click here here for some pictures from this outing.
- October '06: John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum - On October 15th, we visited the closest National Wildlife Refuge to Gloucester County and searched for lingering late fall migrants and early-returning winter waterfowl.
- September '06: Blue Hole Field Trip: On September 17th, we took a trip to the mysterious "Blue Hole" in Winslow WMA. Known in the past as the “Jersey Devil’s bathtub”, the area was frequented by locals in the 1930’s, who reportedly warned their children not to swim or go near the water, as it was thought that demons from below would pull their victims down. One story says that the Blue Hole does not completely freeze over in winter due to hot springs coming up from deep in the earth. Another story has it that the Blue Hole is bottomless, as tested by some folks who paddled a boat to its middle and threw over a weighted line--that kept going...and going...and going... Click here here for some pictures taken on this outing.
Summer Field Trips 2006:
- Up the Creek Without a Paddle! (Mantua Creek Stream Walk) - We explored what was in, on, under and around Mantua Creek as we walked in the water.
- Backyard Habitat - We visited the backyard of Karen Kravchuck to see what she — with the help of the National Wildlife Federation’s “Backyard Habitat Certification Program” — has done to help create a habitat that providex food and shelter for the wildlife that still can be found right in our neighborkoods. We also saw Karen's Monarch Butterfly "Nursery".
- Mantua Creek Trail Walk at Wenonah Woods - We inspected an infestation of purple loosestrife, an invasive marsh plant, which the Wenonah Environmental Commission and the State of New Jersey are removing by the use of biological controls (beetles). We saw evidence of Wenonah's new beaver colony on Mantua Creek and we examined the diversity of shrub and tree species found in the varied habitats along the creek.
- Grass Walk at the West Deptford Scenic Trail (Riverwinds Trail) West Deptford - The grass family is perhaps the largest plant family worldwide (only the orchid family might be larger), it is the family from which comes most human food, and its members comprise about ten percent of New Jersey's flora. With all of this in mind, we took a walk to learn some of the easy ones to identify, as well as a look at some non-graminoids.
- Microbioblitz at Cedar Lake WMA, Monroe Township - We took a trip to this Wildlife Management Area, on the border between Gloucester and Atlantic Counties, which has been little visited by naturalists. We identifed and listed everything we saw (birds, plants, herps, and dragonflies) to gather information that would eventually be incorporated in the club's book "Natural Areas of Gloucester County NJ.
- June '06: Batsto Village and Backcountry - In the course of a two-mile stroll through Batsto Village and then across the Mullica to wetlands along the Mechescatauxin, we saw grass pink and rose pogonia orchids, early pipewort, thread-leaved sundew, goldcrest, and Nuttall's lobelia in bloom, as well as abundant white water lily and spatterdock. Also seen, though not in bloom, were round-leaved and spatulate-leaved sundews, pitcher plant, swamp pink, post oak and blackjack oak, an assortment of huckleberries and blueberries, three species of clubmosses including the rare Carolina clubmoss, and the ever-elusive curly-grass fern.
Birds seen included bald eagle, osprey, eastern bluebird, pine warbler, eastern kingbird, phoebe, savannah sparrow, and brown thrasher, among others. We did not encounter the swamp womper (eastern kingsnake) during the walk, nor did we see any fence lizards, though we saw a few turtles and heard a few frogs. A pair of red-headed woodpeckers entertained us while we ate lunch at the Batsto picnic grove. Post-lunch, a brief excursion to a nearby site produced more plant species, including a fine clump of the very rare Pickering's morning glory.
- May '06: Exploring Mullica Hill's Heritage Woods - We explored Heritage Woods, which is a 12-acre woodland that was a gift to the Friends School in Mullica Hill about a year ago. The land is to be used for environmental education. Three groups came together for this walk: the Gloucester County Nature Club, the Mullica Hill Friends Meeting, and parents and students of the Friends School. Following the walk and activities, refreshments were provided by the Mullica Hill Friends at the Quaker Meeting House, and we were also given a short history of the Friends Meeting and the meeting house itself.
- May '06: BirdQuest VII; Gloucester County - Large event sponsored by the Club to tally all bird species in Gloucester County in 1/2 day event.
- April '06: Bird Quest Training Sessions, Gloucester County - Thirteen different training sessions at various locations in Gloucester County. These are all leading up to Bird Quest VII.
- March '06: John James Audubon Center a/k/a Mill Grove - The club had a pleasant visit to Mill Grove. This lovely old stone house is located high above the Perkiomen Creek in Audubon, PA. We toured the John James Audubon Center with Jeff Holt as our guide. In February, Jeff presented a wonderful program about Audubon. So we already had some background information, plus we had Jeff with us to guide us through the museum. Inside we discovered rooms full of Audubon’s prints. Our visit there brought a new appreciation for his art and the way he made birds come alive on paper. Outside we walked along some of the trails that cross through the fields and woodlands of the sanctuary.
- February '06: Dead End Roads of the Western Shore - Despite predictions for a major snowstorm, this trip went off as scheduled, with a small group and a slightly modified and abbreviated itinerary. About thirty species of birds were seen on the back roads west of Barnegat Bay, including rough-legged hawk (a good, not-too-distant view of a bird perched, then flying), northern harrier, red-tailed hawk, great blue heron, thousands of greater scaup, brant, hooded and red-breasted mergansers, ruddy ducks, bufflehead, the usual gulls, and a scattering of passerines. A Native American shell mound was viewed in passing. The weather was dry and seasonable in the morning, but deteriorated by mid-afternoon. Trip leaders were Karl Anderson and Gale Cannon.
- January '06: Moonlit Walk at Alcyon Park, Pitman - The scheduled night of January 14 was too cloudy, and the trip had to be postponed until the next night, but the alternate night of January 15 proved to be crystal clear and perfect for our moonlit walk around Alcyon Park in Pitman. Upon our arrival, we were taught about the phases of the moon, as well as when the moon rises and sets. Then as we walked around the park, there were several stops where our “guides” told us about the moon through the eyes of people of various cultures, and pointed out some of the winter constellations. It was a very enjoyable and interesting evening. Trip leaders Kris and Erik Mollenhauer, Karen Kravchuck, and Ed Cleary shared stories and knowledge.
Field Trips 2004
- December '05: Audubon Christmas Bird Count; Gloucester County circle - This traditional event helps scientists to understand bird trends and population fluctuations. There were 56 participants in this count, and overall 86 different species of birds were seen in Gloucester County. Out of this number, 14 species were seen in each and every counting area.
- November '05: Avalon Sea Watch / Cape May Hawk Watch - From the Avalon jetty we saw Black Scoters, Gannets, and Common Loons. At the Hawk Watch platform at Cape May, we did not have the northeast winds that cause a large migration of raptors, however, we did to observe a Black-throated Green warbler who was hanging around us for almost an hour. A couple of Ospreys were also hovering over the marsh looking for fish in the water below. What a beautiful day to be outside. The peak fall foliage made the ride a pleasure. Our field trip leader Jeff Holt even spotted a pair of Bald Eagles at East Creek Lake on the ride down.
- October '05: Urban trees of Wenonah and Woodbury - This trip sought out unusual, large, or otherwise interesting trees in parks, on streets, and on private properties. Among the exotics that trip leader Karl Anderson pointed out were monkeypuzzle tree, cedar of Lebanon, deodar cedar, sawtooth oak, ginkgo, trifoliate orange, Chinese scholar tree, and Japanese zelkova. Water oak and bald cypress, though native to New Jersey, were seen only as planted specimens; but shingle oak was seen "in the wild" at its only New Jersey site. The largest tree seen was a tuliptree 15'-4" in circumference. Good specimens of American elm, persimmon, and shagbark hickory were also noted.
Summer Field Trips 2005: Handled separately from our regular field trips.
- Tuesday June 21 at 6 P.M. Bird Walk; Scotland Run Park
- Wednesday July 13 at 6:30 P.M. Watercolor Workshop
- Tuesday July 19 at 6 P.M. Bird Walk; Scotland Run Park
- Tuesday July 26 at 6 P.M. Nature Walk at Ceres Park; Mantua twp
- Wednesday August 3 at 6 P.M. Canoe/Kayak trip; Wenonah
- Tuesday August 9 at 6 P.M. Digiscoping Demo; Scotland Run Park
- Wednesday August 17 at 6 P.M. Fern and Native Plant Walk; Wenonah
- June '05: Orchids and Amphibians in the Pine Barrens; Pine Barrens NJ - A glimpse into an unusual habitat close to home; The small group was treated to flowering pitcher plants, orchids, sundews (three species) and much more. After a hearty meal we were off for pine barrens tree frog, fowlers toad, green frog, carpenter's frog, and a whippoorwill or two thrown in for good measure. A trip many will be sorry they missed.
- May '05: BirdQuest VI; All Gloucester County - Large event sponsored by the Club to tally all bird species in Gloucester County in 1/2 day event.
- April '05: Mt. Cuba; Greenville, Delaware - The Nature Club had a wonderful private tour (three actually) of this incredible wildflower haven. The unique location of this wildlife santuary enables many disjunct species to flurish.
- March '05: Scouting for Ducks; Delaware River, Gloucester and Salem Counties - A tour of the Delaware River in Gloucester and Salem Counties looking for lingering waterfowl turned up some good ducks and plenty of Club members.
- February '05: Winter Botany; West Deptford Scenic Park, West Deptford - Looking at the trees in winter with our trip leader Karl Anderson we were surprised to see a huge old white mulberry tree, possible the County record, and many other gems we have probably overlooked many times.
- January '05: Winter Waterfowl; Shark River, Belmar NJ - Hitting both the coast and some protected lakes we saw a great diversity of birds from scoter, loons, brandt, and gulls to hooded mergansers, shovelers, and widgeon.
- December '04 Audubon Christmas Bird Count; Gloucester County circle - This traditional event helps scientists to understand bird trends and population fluctuations.
- November '04: Seawatch and Hawk Platform, Cape May County, NJ - A large group joined us for a trip to the Avalon Seawatch in the morning and the Hawk watch platform in the afternoon. Great looks at gannets, scoter, harriers, and sharpshinned hawks.
- October '04: Bike trip; Perkiomen Trail, Montgomery County PA - A great group hit the new bike trail and had lunch at the park in Oaks. We had another group walk the trails.
- September '04: Autumn in the Pines; Pine Barrens, NJ - A great trip where we saw the exotic world of the Pine Barrens. Special plants seen on the trip: St.John's wort, cranberry, lady's tresses orchid, pitcher plant, sundews, and the prize - pine barrens gentian. Click here for some pictures.
Summer Field Trips 2004: Handled separately from our regular field trips.
- Wednesday September 1 at 6 P.M. Kayak/Canoe at Riverwinds; West Deptford
- Saturday August 21 at 11 A.M. Fern and Orchid Walk at Ceres Park; Mantua Twp
- Wednesday August 18 at 6 P.M. Stream Walk Meet at Chestnut Branch Park; Mantua Twp
- Wednesday August 11 at 6 P.M. Bird Walk at West Deptford Scenic Park; West Deptford
- Thursday July 29 at 6 P.M. Nature Walk at Ceres Park; Mantua Twp
- Thursday July 15 at 6 P.M. Bird Walk at Greenwich Lake; East Greenwich Twp
- Wednesday June 30 at 6 P.M. Biking in Elephant Swamp; Elk Twp
- Wednesday June 21 at 6 P.M. Bird Walk at Lake Narraticon; Swedesboro
- June '04: Bobolinks; Brightview Farm, Fort Dix area of NJ - Looking through the large grass meadows and old hayfields for grassland birds like Bobolinks, meadowlarks, dickcissel, and various sparrows.
- May '04: BirdQuest V; All Gloucester County - Large event sponsored by the Club to tally all bird species in Gloucester County in 1/2 day event.
- April '04: Bird Quest trainings, Gloucester County NJ - Fifteen different trainings at all different locations in Gloucester County. These are all leading up to Bird Quest '04.
- March '04: The Glades, Cumberland County NJ - On this windy day we visited this wonderful marsh area and despite the wind were able to see several adult eagles, harriers (marsh hawks), and red-tails. Click here for pictures taken from the glades.
- February '04: Feeder Trip; Local Houses, Gloucester County - Visiting houses of Club Members and watching the birds that show up at their feeders.
- January '04: Urban Birding?; Palmyra Cove, Palmyra, NJ - Looking for wintering waterfowl we found a roosting long-eared owl.
Field Trips 2003
- December '03 Audubon Christmas Bird Count; Gloucester County circle - This traditional event helps scientists to understand bird trends and population fluctuations.
- November '03: Old Growth Forest; MacArthur Forest (Saddler Woods), Haddon Twp - Take a tour of this old growth forest with the people who helped to save it.
- October '03: Fall foliage; Supawna Meadows NWR Pennsville - Investigate this wildlife refuge for flora and fauna hard to find in South Jersey.
- September '03: Warblers and Butterflies; Cape May - Visit Higbee beach, Circle garden and lighthouse for warblers and butterflies and then to Hereford Inlet to look for more butterflies.
- June '03: Picnic walk; Redbank Battlefield National Park - Walk along the Delaware River looking for birds at the impoundments and shoreline.
- May '03: BirdQuest IV; All Gloucester County - Large event sponsored by the Club to tally all bird species in Gloucester County in 1/2 day event.
- April '03: Wildflowers along the Susquehanna River; Susquehanna State Park MD Karl Anderson explores with us the profusion of spring flowers. For some great pictures and a write up of the trip click here
- March '03: Silver Lake Trail hike; Silver Lake - Hike along this privately owned lake with the owners.
- March '03: Woodcock and frog walk; Supawna Meadows NWF Pennsville - Catch the display flight of woodcock and listen for spring frogs.
- February '03: Winter waterfowl; Bombay Hook, DE - Driving tour of this NWF in Delaware can produce winter waterfowl or northern strays.
- January '03: Eagles and Gulls; Conowingo Dam, MD - Looking for eagles (lots of them), great blue herons, ducks, mergs, and rare winter gulls.
Field Trips 2002
- December '02 Audubon Christmas Bird Count; Gloucester County circle - This traditional event helps scientists to understand bird trends and population fluctuations.
- November '02 Old Growth Forest walk; MacArthur Forest, Haddon Twp - Tour of old growth forest in South Jersey.
- October '02: Bike or Hike trip; Elephant Swamp, Elk Twp - Biking or walking along old rail line.
- September '02: Native Plant jaunt; Triple Oaks Nursery, Franklinville - Tour of backyard wildlife refuge/butterfly gardens.
- May '02: BirdQuest III; All Gloucester County - Large event sponsored by the Club to tally all bird species in Gloucester County in 1/2 day event.
- April '02: Bike or Hike trip; Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, New Hope - Two groups, choose between biking, walking and picnicking.
- March '02: Spring Surprises; Supawna Meadows NWR Pennsville - Investigate this wildlife refuge for flora and fauna hard to find in South Jersey.
- February '02: Raptor Festival; Cumberland County - The second annual, great looks at hawks and incredible speakers.
- January '02: Insectarium; Philadelphia - A fantastic and creepy bug museum.
Field Trips 2001
- December '01 Audubon Christmas Bird Count; Gloucester County circle - This traditional event helps scientists to understand bird trends and population fluctuations.
- November '01 A World of Wetlands; John Heinz NWR, Tinicum PA - A tour of the nature center and walk around the refuge.
- October '01 Fall Migrants; Palmyra Cove, Palmyra - Walk the spoils looking for passerines.
- September '01 Canoe Trip; Peek Preserve, Millville - Steve Eisenhauer leads a tour of this wetlands.
- June '01 Summer Snow; Ceres Park, Mantua - A perennial attraction, walk through blooming mountain laurel stands.
- June '01 Tree Trip; All of Gloucester County - A driving tour of some notable trees in Gloucester County.
- April '01 Spring Wildflowers; Bowman's Hill, New Hope - Walk this wildflower preserve and share with the experts.
- May '01 BirdQuest II; All Gloucester County - Large event sponsored by the Club to tally all bird species in Gloucester County in 1/2 day event.
- March '01 Stalking Spring Peepers; Scotland Run, Clayton - Find those elusively tiny creatures that make such loud calls.
- March '01 Wildlife Rehabilitation; Cedar Run Refuge, Medford - See how wild animals are nursed back to health and the wild.
- March '01 Sky Dancers; Bridgeport Airport - Share in this exciting spring courtship display of the woodcock.
- February '01 Moonlit walk; Pitman Golf Course - Exercise your all your senses as we explore the night.
- January '01 Eagles and Gulls; Conowingo Dam, MD - Looking for eagles (lots of them), great blue herons, ducks, mergs, and rare winter gulls.
Field Trips 2000
- December '00 Audubon Christmas Bird Count; Gloucester County circle - This traditional event helps scientists to understand bird trends and population fluctuations.
- November '00 Blue Hole trip; Monroe Twp - Hear local legends of the Pine Barrens at the devils bathing pool.
- October '00 Bike and Hike; Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park, Lambertville - See the canal by biking or walking.
- September '00 Warbler Walk; Higbee beach, Cape May - Join Mike Fritz for fall warblers.
- May '00 The Original BirdQuest; All Gloucester County - Large event sponsored by the Club to tally all bird species in Gloucester County in 1/2 day event.
- April '00 Wildflower Gardens; Mt Cuba, Copeland Estate, Greenville, DE - Tour private wildflower gardens.
- March '00 Tracing Chestnut Branch; Gloucester County - Follow the flow of the Chestnut Branch portion of the Mantua Creek with stops at Rowan University, Alcyon Park, Ceres Park and Chestnut Branch Park.
- January '00 “All About Owls”; Jakes Landing - CMBO program and field trip to Jakes Landing.
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