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Parvin State Park

This park in Salem County is on Route 540. Reach it from Rte. 40 via Rte. 77 south and left on Rte. 540 to the Second Landing picnic area on the right; or, from Mannington Marsh to the west, take Rte. 540 east to the Second Landing picnic area on the right. If the gate is not open into the parking lot, go further east on Rte. 540 to the park office and let the ranger know. They will open the gate. Usually it is not open before 8:00 a.m. From the parking lot, descend on the path into the swamp and follow the boardwalk. Along the way you pass through cedar swamp, tupelo-maple swamp with mistletoe, and lots of birds. Residents include gnatcatchers, Prothonotary Warblers (common in wet years, and up close!), Barred Owl, Louisiana Waterthrush, and there are lots of warblers in migration. April 20 to May 10 is a good time to go. Turn left off the boardwalk trail after you have passed the wooden bridge and continue to the road. Once on the road, turn left and go back toward the parking lot. Turn left again into the trail back to the lot, but stop on the wooden bridge over Muddy Run. This is a good spot to see Red-bellied Turtle. The parking area will have birds if there is a flight. There are facilities.

This trip can be easily combined with Mannington Marsh on Rte. 540 to the west. In April at Mannington, look for Bald Eagle, Caspian Tern, Common Moorhen, Coot, Pied-billed Grebe, snipe, swallows, late migrant ducks, and arriving herons like Little Blue. From Rte. 540 (the lower causeway), you can get Golden Plover and other shorebirds on low tide. From Griscom Road (off 540), you see teal, Wood Duck, snipe and moorhen, as well as lots of turtles of a half dozen species.

Be sure to check the Rte. 45 crossing over the upper end of the marsh. In the state wildlife management area on Rte 45 just above the marsh crossing, there are nesting chats, Blue Grosbeak and White-eyed Vireo in late May-early June.

--Rich Kane