|Boulevard and West Front Street, Florence, NJ
Phone: (609) 499-2525
Open daily dawn to dusk.
Exit Assiscunk Creek Park and turn Left onto Old York Road. After 0.8 miles turn Left on Neck Road. After 2.3 miles, bear Right onto River Road. After 1.4 miles River Road becomes West Front Street. After 0.8 miles turn Left into H. Kenneth Wilkie Memorial River’s Edge Park.
DIRECTIONS FROM NEAREST HIGHWAY: From I-295 take exit 52 B and merge onto Route 656, Florence Columbus Road. After crossing route 130, Florence Columbus Road becomes Delaware Avenue. After 1 mile, Delware Avenue becomes Front Street. After 3.9 miles turn Right into the parking lot for H. Kenneth Wilkie Memorial River?s Edge Park. Map
New Jersey Transit Bus Lines No. 409/417/418 Trenton/Willingboro/Philadelphia stops at Front Street and Boulevard Street. Walking distance is less than 1 mile.
Another vantage point from which to view the gulls is Clark T. Carey Memorial Park. From the parking lot at H. Kenneth Wilkie Park, make a Left onto Front Street. Clark T. Carey Park is 0.5 miles on the Left. It has a boat launch and canoe/kayak access.
|Lesser Black-backed Gull
|H. Kenneth Wilkie Park is a small and scenic park overlooking the Delaware River in the charming town of Florence. This park is popular with birders for its proximity to Tullytown landfill, across the river, which attracts thousands upon thousands of gulls, with rarities frequently mixing in. Aside from the gulls, the park has a nice variety of neighborhood wildlife and a generally pleasing and relaxing atmosphere in any season.
Visit between December and February to study and learn the subtleties of gull identification. Once you can identify the variable Ring-billed and Herring Gulls, you can pick through for rarities such as Lesser Black-backed, Glaucous and Iceland, and even Thayer’s, California, Yellow-Legged or Mew Gull.
Glaucous and Iceland Gulls can be found mixing with the hordes of Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Waterfowl includes Double-crested and Great Cormorants, Common Goldeneye, Common and Hooded Merganser and Bufflehead. The park itself hosts mixed flocks of Juncos, White-throated Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Carolina Wrens, and the occasional Fox Sparrow. Look for Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers as well as the resident Northern Flickers, Downy, Hairy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers.
Arrive at dawn for a chorus of migrating songbirds, including Wood Thrush, Northern Parula, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Goldfinch, Red-eyed and Blue-headed Vireo. Look for Blue and Green-winged Teal, Ruddy Duck, Black Duck, and Shoveler moving North along the river.
This is a good time to set out a fishing line, kick back in a lawn chair, and watch Laughing Gulls swarm over the landfill in the thousands. Look carefully for the occasional Franklin’s Gull. Scan for red-bellied and snapping turtles sunning on the opposite bank at low tide. Birds nesting in the vicinity of the park include American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, Gray Catbird, House Wren, and Carolina Chickadee. Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons stalk the shallows.
Raptors such as Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Osprey, and Peregrine Falcon move South along the river, over a backdrop of beautiful foliage. Look for Spotted Sandpiper and Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs feeding at low tide. Look and listen for Belted Kingfisher in branches near the water. This is also good time to see the smaller and larger species of gulls overlapping.