U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Wallkill River
National Wildlife Refuge

Liberty Marsh
1547 County Route 565
Sussex, NJ   07461 - 4013
E-mail: wallkillriver@fws.gov
Phone Number: 973-702-7266
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Liberty Marsh
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  Wildlife and Habitat

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Many migratory birds are "funneled" through the Wallkill Valley. The Wallkill River bottomland is one of the few, large areas of high quality waterfowl habitat remaining in northwestern New Jersey. As a major watershed and wetland complex, the Wallkill River provides migratory and nesting habitat for Atlantic Flyway black duck populations as well as wood duck, mallard, green-winged teal, common mergansers, and Canada geese. Over 225 bird species have been recorded using the refuge. Of these, 122 have been documented as breeding species. The refuge provides especially valuable habitat to migrant waterfowl, wintering raptors, grassland birds, and marshbirds. The refuge is also an important site for wading birds, shorebirds, shrubland dependant birds, and forest interior songbirds. Further, the Refuge provides nesting, resting, and feeding habitat for numerous birds on lists of rare and declining species.

In summer, songbirds such as the beautiful indigo bunting, bobolink, scarlet tanager, Baltimore oriole, grasshopper sparrow, savannah sparrow, cedar waxwing, and chestnut-sided warbler bring color and melody to the refuge. Kestrels nest in abundance on the refuge, and the "who cooks for you" call of the barred owl can often be heard. Great blue heron and green herons are perennial summer inhabitants in the refuges wetlands. Wood duck and mallards breed on the refuge. The fall migration brings waterfowl, such as the black duck, shorebirds, and the songbirds that had nested further north. Raptors are plentiful during fall migration as well, when sharp-shinned hawks, Coopers hawk, and broad-winged hawks fill the sky on clear September days. Short-eared owls, northern harriers, and rough-legged hawks are found primarily during the winter.

Approximately 40 mammal species occur on the Refuge. The Refuge is particularly important regionally for providing habitat for bobcat and black bear. These large mammals require the large, unfragmented patches of habitat that the Refuge preserves. Game and furbearer species include include: opossum, raccoon, striped skunk, river otter, mink, red fox, gray fox, coyote, muskrat, beaver, eastern cottontail, and whitetail deer.

The refuge supports a great diversity of reptiles and amphibians, including several on Federal and State lists of rare and declining species. In fact, few areas in northern New Jersey support such a large concentration of species in need of protection. Also, the Refuge protects habitat in one of only two river drainages in New Jersey occupied by the blue-spotted salamander. Other listed species on the Refuge include eastern mud salamander, longtail salamander, wood turtle, northern spring salamander, spotted turtle, and eastern box turtle. Of special concern is the bog turtle.

Butteflies and dragonflies are abundant. The Refuge supports one of the most diverse Odonate communities in the Northeast. Most significant of these include the first state occurrences of midland clubtail (Gomphus fraternus) and skillet clubtail (Gomus ventricosus).

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