Harlequin Ducks and More at the Jersey Shore: An Encore

It is reliably cold…it is reliably blustery…but if you are a birder or bird photographer, a winter trip to Barnegat Light SP is a must-do for the chance to observe some very special birds that can reliably be found there only during the coldest winter months.

On last January’s VFAS field trip, we found plenty of the stars of the show: Harlequin Ducks – stunningly beautiful ducks that look like feathered paint-by-number projects.  We also were fortunate enough to spot other winter visitors such as Long-tailed Ducks, Surf and Black Scoters, Red-breasted Mergansers, Common and Red-throated Loons, Common Eiders, a Red-Necked Grebe, and even two amazing Razorbills in the waters of Barnegat Inlet.  Northern Gannets were spotted flying offshore.  On the mile-long stone jetty itself we encountered Purple Sandpiper, Sanderling, Dunlin, and Ruddy Turnstones as well as Snow Buntings, while in the sand dunes Horned Larks were found.  It was an amazing day.

It was so amazing, in fact, that we want to try it again in 2024!  Join us for an outing where we can guarantee cold weather, great company, and the chance to observe unique birds not found anywhere else or any other season in our area.  Barnegat Light is always a fascinating place to experience and definitely worth the trip.

A restroom is available at the state park parking lot where we will meet.  Bring binoculars; the guides will have spotting scopes available to share, but if you have one you may want to bring it.  DRESS WARMLY – the wind can often be biting. (And that’s an understatement.)

After our walk along the jetty and sand dunes we will head to a local eatery for warm food and camaraderie before heading out to a few other birding hotspots on Long Beach Island where last year we spotted Brant, Scaup, a Bonaparte’s Gull, Bufflehead, a Little Blue Heron and a Tricolored Heron. Please join us for any part of the day, or all of it.

NJDEP | Barnegat Lighthouse State Park | New Jersey State Park Service

Guides:  multiple leaders


Jan 13 2024


10:00 am


Barnegat Light State Park
202 Broadway, Barnegat Light, NJ, USA


Patty Werth, PA Master Naturalist and VFAS Board Member