|End of 7th Street, Avalon, NJ |
Phone: (609) 967-8500
Borough of Avalon
The site is open from dawn to dusk and parking is available.
Continue up Dune Dr. Turn Right
at 7th St. and continue to the end to the
parking/viewing area. Map
|The Avalon Sea Watch,
conducted by New Jersey Audubon research department, is the site of the only
ongoing autumn census of seabirds on the east coast, and the parade of birds that passes near the beach at this point from October through December is breathtaking. Every year, the count flirts with the magic number of one million with hundreds of thousands each of cormorants and scoters. Tens of thousands of Northern Gannet, loons, waterfowl, gulls and terns also contribute to the impressive total. Located at the mouth of Townsend’s Inlet, the Avalon Sea Watch is also known for rare or vagrant species such as Razorbill and Black-legged Kittiwake.
the large scoter flights from the last week of October through mid-November. During this period the daily flights number thirty to forty thousand birds. Afternoon is best for viewing, as the sun is behind the observer, and illuminates the birds beautifully as they pass close to shore.
Winter is an excellent time to scan Townsend’s Inlet for rafts of sea ducks such as Long-tailed Duck (formerly known as Oldsquaw), and large concentrations of wintering loons. It is also worthwhile to scan for vagrants, such as rare alcids, gulls or grebes, and Purple Sandpiper regularly visit the jetties and seawalls.
Spring is probably the least visited season at the Avalon Sea Watch, however it remains an excellent vantage point from which to observe migrating cormorants, Brant, and terns, among others. Also, Purple Sandpiper may linger on the jetties late into the season.
Although relatively quiet compared to other seasons, it is worth scanning the horizon for Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, shearwaters,
summering jaegers, Northern Gannet and terns.
Fall is the most active time at the Sea Watch, particularly October and November. Virtually any seabird species that migrates along the Atlantic coast, as well as a good variety of land birds, may be seen hurtling past. Be sure to bundle up, and bring a heavy tripod if you plan to use a telescope or camera, as the wind is often bitter and strong at this season.