Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge hosts many free public events throughout the year, including hiking, fishing, bird watching, and kayaking as well as various children’s programs. Check out all of our upcoming events on the events calendar.Events Calendar
About the NWRS
The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.
Learn more about the NWRS
Around the Refuge
Nesting season for most of the birds that call the refuge home is rapidly winding down and while most of our resident and neo-tropical migrant songbirds are still here, our management focus is already turning to migratory birds. In particular, over the past couple of weeks we have been lowering water levels in some of our managed impoundments at the Liberty Marsh to provide mudflat habitat for numerous species of shorebirds. By mid July, many of the adult shorebirds that have nested in the arctic tundra are beginning their long migration south and our wildlife refuges and coastal waterways in New Jersey provide critical stopover locations for these birds. Many of these birds will make their way to the west coast of South America and need to rebuild their fat reserves in order to complete the arduous journey. The peak for this migration is from late July to mid August but there can be continuous movement through September and well into October. Much of the later season migration consists of juvenile birds that are making the journey for the first time. At times, you can expect to see many Least Sandpipers, Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpipers, Pectoral Sandpipers, Semipalmated Plovers and possibly rarer shorebirds such as Baird’s Sandpiper and Stilt Sandpiper.
This is also a good time to see larger numbers of herons and egrets foraging in the impoundments. We have a good sized colony of Great Blue Herons nesting here on the refuge and it is not unusual to see 25-30 of them at a time. Great Egrets which have nested elsewhere are also passing through the refuge and may be seen in smaller numbers over the next couple of months. Be on the lookout for the occasional Glossy Ibis which may also stop over here as well. A spotting scope is recommended for the best viewing opportunities.
The federally threatened bog turtle can be found in wetlands throughout the Wallkill River valley and the Papakating Creek Watershed. Endangered by habitat loss and poaching (the diminutive turtle is favored among illegal pet traders), this turtle is an important focus of the refuge’s conservation work. Due to their listed status, refuge public use areas are located away from sensitive bog turtle habitats.
Page Photo Credits All photos courtesy of USFWS unless otherwise noted.
Last Updated: Jul 31, 2014