|Summer Birding at Edwin B. Forsythe
National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey
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Three of many terns hovering and diving into water to catch fish in Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge
(NWR) in southern shore of New Jersey on June 19, 2013. We drove south for one hour to come to this NWR
for bird watching in the afternoon of June 19, 2013. It was a very exciting and enjoyable afternoon to see a lot
of many kinds of birds in actions in this NWR.
The best show of the day in this NWR is the following movie that I took for the feeding frenzy of many terns:
It was at a period of rising high tide with lots of ocean water pouring from Broad Creek into the East Pool
(Danzenbaker Pool ) at the northeast corner of the 8-mile rectangular loop of Wildlife Drive in this NWR. It
seems that the powerful turbulence of this strong inflow stirs up many fish to the water surface making it much
easier for terns to find and to catch fish. Therefore, this area attracts many terns to come here to catch fish.
A detailed map of Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge including the 8-mile Wildlife Loop is available on
its brochure at:
When the tern sees a fish in the water, it dives from mid-air down.
This tern was diving down and just reaching the water surface.
In addition to many terns, there were also several ospreys (fish hawks) catching bigger fish in this NWR. My
compact super-zoom camera with 50X optical zoom plus its Sport Mode and Burst Shooting is quite helpful to
zoom in to catch such action photos of these busy birds in fast actions.
This osprey had a big fish
in its talon and was soaring
high over our head in this
NWR. The 50X optical
zoom of my compact
super-zoom camera helped
to get a close up view.
This osprey was busy feeding pieces of fish to three babies in the nest. There were several osprey nests in
this NWR and all of them have busy ospreys feeding babies. The 50X optical zoom of my compact super-zoom
camera is very helpful to get close up views of activities of these ospreys in their nests. I took a movie of the
osprey feeding babies as shown in the following YouTube website:
Zoom in for closer views of ospreys on several osprey nests in this NWR.
A pair of ospreys tending to their babies in the nest.
Live view inside an Osprey nest at Edwin B. Forsythe NWR in Oceanville, NJ can be seen at the following
A pair of oystercatchers with massive long bright orange bills.
Most of these terns were looking down for fish to catch while hovering over the water.
These are long-distance migratory arctic tern—travelers from Antarctic/South America that stop here for a few
weeks prior to continuing their journey to the Arctic. That’s a total distance of 10,000 miles or more! During
summer, the bill of arctic tern becomes bright red. Long tail streamers also develop in summer.
One of several great blue herons seen in this NWR on the windy day of June 19, 2013.
Two other great blue herons.
Many black skimmers in this NWR. Their upper bill is shorter than their lower bill, a special design for their
special way of flying just above water surface and skimming water surface to catch fish as shown in the
following YouTube movie:
and near the end of the following YouTube movie:
Many snowy egrets and a shore bird.
A glossy ibis near the group of snowy egrets.
Skimmer's upper bill is shorter than the lower bill.
A black skimmer in flight.
A pair of Canada geese with 5 babies.
One of several ospreys in action.
Snowy egret and ibis.
Three Canada geese in flight.
One of many shore birds in flight
Two of many shore birds on water or on ground.
Several great egrets in this NWR. Movie of great egrets in action catching fish in this NWR can be seen at the
following YouTube website:
Terns are all over the places in this NWR hovering, looking down and diving to catch fish.
Many laughing gulls with bright red bills during breeding season.
A night heron
In winter season, many winter birds migrated from north to this NWR while many summer birds migrated south
away from this NWR. The winter birds are very different from the birds that we see in the summer season.
The photos and stories of winter birds in this NWR are on my web page at:
Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge at Brigantine is a few miles north of Atlantic City on New Jersey
coast. The Refuge's location in one of the Atlantic Flyway's most active flight paths makes it an important link
in the vast network of National Wildlife Refuges. It has an 8-mile Wildlife Drive (Loop) for visitors to drive their
own cars to enjoy watching large number of many kinds of birds on both sides of the Drive.
This National Wildlife Refuge is open all year around. In different season, one sees large number of
different kinds of birds.
Summer Mosquitoes: In the summer season, some National Wildlife Refuges including Edwin B. Forsythe
NWR, have many mosquitoes, greenhead flies (horse flies) and other insects because of wetlands, marsh and
abundance of water. To prevent mosquito/insect bite, the visitors in the summer season may need to use
insect repellent and to wear long pants, long sleeve cloth and hat or head net. A head net usually covers the
entire head including head, face, ears, and neck. Such head net is inexpensive in the order of a few dollars
and is available in many sport wear stores. The mesh size of the head net should be sufficiently small such
that mosquitoes and other insects cannot get in.
Some visitors simply stay inside the car with doors and all windows closed and with air condition on in the
summer season and drive slowly along the 8-mile Loop to watch wildlife on both sides of the car.
Location and Direction for Edwin B. Forsythe (Brigantine) National Wildlife Refuge:
Address: 800 Great Creek Rd. Absecon, NJ 08205 ((East End of) E. Great Creek Road )
(or East End of East Lily Lake Road, off Highway 9)
1. From Garden State Parkway South Bound, (just after going over Mullica River Bridge) take Exit 48 to
get on Highway 9 South
2. Stay on Highway 9 South for several miles until you reach the traffic light of intersection of Highway 9
and E. Great Creek Road
3. Turn left (East) into E. Great Creek Road (East bound).
4. Continue on E. Great Creek Road for about one mile all the way to get into Forsythe (Brigantine)
National Wildlife Refuge (NWR)
5. Continue to the entrance of NWR. There is a parking lot with restroom near the entrance. Pay your fee
at the Fee Station then drive onto the 8-mile, one way, rectangular loop of unpaved Dike to enjoy bird
watching on both sides. (Senior people with Golden Age Pass can enjoy FREE entrance to all national parks,
national recreation areas and national wildlife refuges in USA. Senior people can get a Golden Age Pass by
paying $10 only once in any office of any national park throughout USA.)
Map: Click here to see Google Map showing location of Entrance to Edwin B. Forsythe NWR
Where to Eat: After touring Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, some visitors may be hungry and
looking for a place to eat. Smithville Square Shopping Center off Route 9 is only about 2 or 3 miles north of
Edwin B. Forsythe (Brigantine) National Wildlife Refuge. It is at the southwest corner of Intersection of Route
9 and Smithville Blvd. There is a traffic light at this intersection. The entrance to Smithville Square Shopping
Center is from Smithville Blvd. There is a Foodtown Supermarket, a Chinese Restaurant (King’s Wok Gourmet
Chinese Restaurant, Phone: 609-748-1911/1935 ), a Pizza Restaurant, and other stores in Smithville Square
Shopping Center. The street address of Smithville Square Shopping Center is: 45 South New York Road (i.e.,
Route 9), Smithville, NJ 08205.
Map: Click here to see Google Map showing location of Smithville Shopping Center
Another option is to drive south a few miles to Atlantic City where there are several luxurious restaurants in
several Casinos and along the board walk.
Two of many red wing black birds in this NWR.
The great egret is very stately looking. I love to watch them fish. They can stay motionless for long periods of
time and then in the blink of an eye, they strike and grab their meal. It is truly an amazing sight.
We came to visit this National Wildlife Refuge again on September 1, 2014 and again we saw several ospreys
An egret caught a fish.
A flock of many starlings and red winged black birds.
Two glossy ibis in the air
Many seagulls, Canada geese and other birds.
Close up view of one of many terns.
A young Yellow-Crowned Night Heron seen on September 1, 2014 in this NWR.