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Guide to Birding Hartshorne Woods

Birding Highlights

This beautiful park near Atlantic Highlands encompasses over 900 acres of mostly mature deciduous woodland, steep slopes covered with Mountain Laurel and steep cliffs adjacent to the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers.  It is an excellent place for spring and fall passerine migrants and has a good community of nesting species.  In winter there can be large numbers of dabbling and diving ducks on the rivers.  Great Horned and Screech Owls are common, though seldom seen.  There are many miles of trails here to explore.  Some birds seen in the park have included Anhinga, Eurasian Wigeon, Mississippi Kite, Pileated Woodpecker, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Yellow-throated, Connecticut, Hooded, and Kentucky Warblers, Dickcissel, and Lincoln's Sparrow.  The Northeast's first Green Violet-ear (hummingbird) was found just outside the park in 2005.

Directions

From the north:

  • Take the Garden State Parkway to Exit 117 and follow Rt. 36 about 11.5 miles to Navesink Ave.  (The turn is marked "Red Bank/Scenic Rd., Mt. Mitchell").
  • Turn right and proceed to the Park's Buttermilk Valley entrance on the left (about 0.4 miles).
  • To access the Rocky Point Section, instead of turning on Navesink Ave., you continue an additional 1.25 miles on Rt. 36.
  • Make a right on Portland Rd., just before crossing the Shrewsbury River bridge, by the "Off the Hook" restaurant.
  • Follow Portland Rd. to the park entrance on the left (about 0.8 of a mile).

From the south:

  • Take the Garden State Parkway to Exit 105 and then follow Rt. 36 north.
  • Just after you pass the exit to Sandy Hook (about 5.5 miles), you cross the Shrewsbury River bridge.
  • For the Rocky Point Section, take the first right just after the bridge.
  • At the bottom of the steep exit ramp, turn right and go under the bridge.
  • Turn right, go up the hill, and turn left onto Portland Rd.
  • Follow Portland to the park entrance on the left.
  • For the Buttermilk Valley entrance, stay on Rt. 36 about 1.5 miles past the Sandy Hook exit.
  • The jug handle turn for Navesink Ave. occurs shortly after the traffic light at Linden Ave. It is labeled "Mt. Mitchell scenic overlook."
  • Turn left at the end of the exit ramp, cross Rt. 36, and proceed about 0.4 miles to the parking lot on the left.