Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘kayak tours’

Birding by kayak

Friday, August 5th, 2011
Nature Tours at Island Beach State Park

by Skyler Streich

So far at Island Beach State Park, this year, we had two Birding-by-Kayak trips sponsored by Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ and they were a huge hit. The highlight, was a Greater Scaup which was present on both trips in the same location in the little cove called, “Spizzle Creek.” This bird should be high in the northern latitudes at this time of the year on it’s breeding grounds. Instead it did not make it up there this year due to many possible causes. We also had a Turkey Vulture fly right over us on the Sedge Islands, which was a first for me there and many others for that location. It was a strong west wind that day, which most likely brought the vulture all the way to Island Beach. Herons, egrets, warblers, flycatchers and terns were plentiful on the tours. Two weeks ago, we also had the first of the migratory shorebirds showing up on the sandbars and mudflats to refuel for their journey back south to their wintering grounds in the southern U.S, Mexico, and Central and South America.  More and more shorebirds are trickling into the area each day!

Birders use kayaks to reach birding hot spots inside Sedge Islands. Photo by Skyler Streich

Conserve Wildlife Foundation is partnering with Island Beach State Park and The Friends of Island Beach this year to help keep these wonderful tours for years to come. There are many more birding tours available at the park this summer, so all you have to do is sign up and you are on your way to a learning adventure at a beautiful location!

There are 3 more “Birding by Kayak” tours being offered this season.  August 18; September 1, 15. Cost is $25. To sign up call Kathy at 732-250-6314 or email her:

We are also offering two great birding programs for both beginner and advanced levels of birdwatchers. The Beginner program on August 25th, will show participants how to properly use binoculars, and learn how to use field guides to identify the birds they are seeing. The Advanced program will focus on tackling the identification of the many shorebirds that will be present at Island Beach. That program is offered on July 28th and August 11th. The Cost is free.  Please preregister by calling the nature center at Island Beach at; 732-793-1698 or email:

We hope that you join us for an unforgettable experience at Island Beach State Park!

Report from the Barnegat Bay Birder in Residence

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010
Great birding at Island Beach State Park

by Skyler Streich, Barnegat Bay Birder-in-Residence

American Oystercatcher. © Chris Davidson

As the Barnegat Bay Birder-in-Residence for CWF of NJ I led a total of 4 Bird Walks and 4 Birding by Kayak Tours in Island Beach State Park.  It was very successful with a total of 60 people attending the Birding by Kayak trips and a total of 34 participants for my bi-weekly bird walks.  There were many repeat customers, mostly from participants that enjoyed the Birding by Kayak trips so much so they wanted to attend my bird walks too.  The participants ranged from beginners to excellent and avid birdwatchers.  So it was a nice mix of skill levels of bird identification abilities on the trips.  The Birding by Kayak tours were sponsored by the Friends of Island Beach State Park, so they advertised those tours via the IBSP Visitor Guide.  As for my bird walks I advertised them by printing out flyers and distributing them to local businesses like Big Ed’s produce, Lavallette Post Office, Wild Birds Unlimited and Cattus Island County Park.  Also Pete Bacinski of Sandy Hook posted my walks in the Rare Bird Alerts which is posted on the JerseyBirds forum. And of course, they were posted on CWF’s Calendar of Events.

The tours were extremely successful in seeing all of the common birds of the Barnegat Bay area as well as numerous uncommon to rare sightings.  Each kayak tour gave participants the chance to see and compare all the herons and egrets that inhabit the saltmarshes of Barnegat Bay.  Each tour there were juvenile Little Blue Herons, which are all white, and the later tours had Black-crowned Night Herons.  More than once we got to see beautiful and not too common shorebirds like Whimbrels and Marbled Godwits along with the much more common sandpipers and plovers.  Other great shorebirds seen on the BBK trips were Pectoral Sandpipers and a Solitary Sandpiper.  We even had a Caspian Tern amongst the Royal Terns.  It seems that Ospreys were even more abundant this year than last year, with plenty of hatch year juveniles around in late July and August.  Also, American Oystercatchers seemed unusually abundant this year.

Piping plover. © Steve Byland

The bird walks also produced some exciting and uncommon birds.  Least Terns seemed to be in pretty high numbers in August.  Also we had multiple Black Tern sightings in and around the inlet area.  One of the best finds was a group of 8 Common Eiders that decided not to migrate to their arctic breeding grounds and just stay in Island Beach for the summer. We also had 1 single Piping Plover feeding amongst the Sanderlings and Semipalmated Plovers on the shoreline.  That was only the second Piping Plover I have ever seen at IBSP in my life.  So all in all, it was a very successful season with very successful tours and each participant walked away with a greater appreciation of the magnificent birdlife that relies on the Barnegat Bay area for their survival.