Egrets and Herons, Walker Ave. Wetlands, NJ, July 23, 2015 (photo by Jonathan Klizas)
The Lincoln Park Gravel Pits (The Pits) has a long history in Morris County birding, especially in the 20th century decades of the 60’s and 70’s. Accessibility is a major problem since the 1980’s . Currently, The Pits are treated as private. The only known public access is available on the berm separating the swim club and the water chestnut clogged lake of The Pits in the western section, although this is not easy to find or to get to. Otherwise, if you wish to visit The Pits, this territory falls under the categorical phrase mentioned many times in this space: “You are on your own.”
The southern part of The Pits borders on the Pompton River which forms the boundary between Morris and Passaic Counties. Directly on the south side of the Pompton River and across from The Pits is a gem known as the Walker Avenue Wetlands (Walker Ave.) in the township of Wayne. Granted, this is in Passaic County and mocosocoBirds focuses on Morris and Somerset Counties but The Pits and Walker Ave. are joined at the river, so to speak. It is unfair to think of one without the other. This observer on many occasions has watched herons, egrets, shorebirds, etc. fly south over the southern treeline of The Pits, more than likely headed for Walker Ave.
The eBird hotspot for Walker Ave. lists 184 species. The link for the hotspot is here. A Reeve (the term for a female Ruff) was here during the summer of 2002 propelling Walker Ave. into the New Jersey birding consciousness. Stilt, Baird’s and Buff-breasted Sandpipers along with Wilson’s Phalarope have also been recorded at Walker Ave. Viewing the eBird hotspot will show the reader an impressive species list for this location.
Use Walker Avenue in Wayne to access the wetlands. Park at the end of the road and explore. This morning, after wondering where the Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets that were seen in double-digits at The Pits the past week had gone, a trip to Walker Ave. showed they had moved to Passaic County. 30 Great Egrets and 26 Great Blue Herons were in the northeast section of the wetlands in the late morning. The above photo shows approximately half of them. Also present were Green Herons, Wood Ducks, an immature Bald Eagle flying low over the wetlands, which the herons and egrets ignored, Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper, etc.
The screenshot of a map below shows the general layout of The Pits and Walker Ave. and the human congestion surrounding the area creating an oasis effect.
View local eBird checklists in the mocosocoBirds region via eBird’s Region Explorer. Use the following links:
The eBird Hotspot Primer is here and can also be accessed via the Hotspot menu item on the mocosocoBirds.com website.
@mocosocoBirds at Twitter is another communications stream. Instant field reports and links of interest are tweeted throughout the day. The latest tweets appear on the sidebar of this page. One can follow mocosocoBirds at Twitter or link to @mocosocoBirds.