|Shawmont Avenue, Villas, NJ 08251|
Phone: (609) 984-0547
NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Backtrack along Millman Blvd, and turn Right at the blinking light onto CR603/Bayshore Road. After 3.1 miles, turn Right onto Shawmont Avenue and continue 0.2 miles to the parking area at Villas WMA.Open daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
|Laughing Gull||Kevin Karlson
||Formerly a golf course called "Ponderlodge", the 253 acre Villas Wildlife Management Area is undergoing a management plan to restore forest, grassland, meadow, shrub-scrub, wetland and vernal pool habitats. Golf cart paths still run through most of the preserve, providing for easy strolling or bicycling and close encounters with wildlife. Flynn's Pond, the largest of many man-made and seasonal ponds on the property, can be reached by hiking Southwest from the parking lot for 0.6 miles. This is a popular site for fishing in the warmer months, and hosts a variety of waterfowl, turtles, dragonflies and the occasional river otter.
Red-breasted Nuthatch, Cedar Waxwing, Eastern Bluebird, Pine Siskin, Brown Creeper, Winter Wren and Red-headed Woodpecker forage on the property. Waterfowl are abundant on Flynn's Pond. Look for Ring-necked Duck, Coot, Black Duck, Pintail, Bufflehead and Double-crested Cormorant. Belted Kingfisher can often be spotted perched on snags.
This is an excellent migrant trap on Spring mornings, with the opportunity for two dozen species of warbler when conditions are right. Black and Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Blue-headed Vireo, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting and Bobolink can be spotted as well. Frogs become active in late March, and can be identified by their calls.
Insect Repellant recommended. Nesting songbirds include Great-crested Flycatcher, White-eyed Vireo, Tufted Titmouse, Baltimore Oriole, Orchard Oriole, Eastern Bluebird, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Common Yellowthroat. Butterflies are abundant in the meadows - ldook for black and tifer swallowtails, silver-spotted skipper, red-spotted purple, gray hairstreak, Eastern tailed-blue and buckeye, among others. The air is liable to be buzzing with dragonflies and damselflies, while a search of the ground for reptiles and amphibians could produce snakes, turtles and lizards.
Scan Flynn's Pond for the arrival of winter ducks such as Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon, Ruddy Duck and Spotted Sandpipers along the shore. Migrant songbirds include Palm, Blackpoll and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Eastern Phoebe among others. Raptors are abundant and flocks of herons and egrets pass overhead. Butterflies and dragonflies continue into September.