Birding Sites
Sandy Hook

From Garden State Parkway exit 117, take rte. 36 east to the Sandy Hook National Recreation area entrance (you'll wait, of course, until the federal government re-opens, because now the gates area closed). Proceed to the first parking area on the right (Bayberry Beach -- formerly Area B). Scan the ocean for scoters, oldsquaw, kittiwake, white-winged gulls and the like. Then proceed north to the next beach area (Area C). Stop in there and check the weedy dune areas for snow buntings and maybe a longspur, and look off the rock wall for ducks, maybe an alcid, gulls, etc. Then continue north up the road past the block house in the median to Parking Area L. Scan the bay side for grebes, ducks, cormorants and other waterbirds. All three regular grebes have been seen here and also occasionally eared grebe. Proceed north again on the bayside to the auditorium. Park there, and look for Harlequin duck, now a regular winterer, behind the auditorium around the little L-shaped jetty. Then go east to the garden near the houses. A N. Shrike has been there this winter. After that, go to the parking area at North Beach. Check the tern nesting area (fenced) for snow buntings and horned larks, and the ocean for ducks and gulls. You can also walk to the tip from here, looking for snowy owl, longspur, harrier and Ipswich Sparrow in the dunes. Returning from North Beach, once past the block house in the median, park at the Visitor Center, cross the road, and take the boardwalk to the end at Spermaceti cove. Scan this bayside area for scaup, redhead, goldeneye, brant, any wintering shorebirds, grebes and other waterbirds. Check the gulls on the spit. Facilities are at the Visitor Center.

--Rich Kane