NOTE: The Autumnal Equinox occurs at 10:29 PM EDT on Monday, September 22, 2014 (converted from 2:29 PM UTC, September 23, 2014).
The South Branch Preserve is in Mt. Olive Twp. It is not to be confused with the South Branch WMA in Hunterdon County and Hillsborough Twp. or any other area with South Branch in the name. Dan Fuller brought this place to the attention of mocosocoBirds readers in May when he reported three Mourning Warblers from the Preserve. That post is here.
As stated in the May 24 post: “Parking for the 200 acre South Branch Preserve in on Wolfe Rd. near its intersection with Rt. 46. The Land Conservancy of New Jersey hopes to grow this preserve to 1,000 acres as a protection for the headwaters of the South Branch of the Raritan River. The source of the South Branch is nearby Budd Lake, New Jersey’s largest natural lake.”
South Branch Preserve is an attractive site for birds as a visit there this morning demonstrated. It is easily combined with a trip to nearby Budd Lake.
The community garden and neighboring fields at the Preserve hosted many birds this morning: Field, Savannah and Song Sparrows as well as a family of Indigo Buntings and Eastern Bluebirds used the many fences and posts as perches making for easy viewing. Palm Warblers were in the vegetation near the ground. An American Kestrel was in the area.
A wide path parallels an exclosure-fenced field on one side and edge habitat on the other side. There is a side path to a blind in a swampy section of the South Branch of the Raritan River. A Great Blue Heron was there this morning. This looks like the type of location that could host interesting species in migration and is worth a visit if you are in the area.