North Brigantine Beach
East Beach Avenue and 14th Street North, Brigantine, NJ
There are few opportunities to explore relatively undisturbed beach in New Jersey, and North Brigantine Beach is one of them. Over two miles of sandy beach and salt marsh are home to species common in coastal marine habitats including gulls, minnows, sand crabs and diamondback terrapins. The large, two-story viewing platform is a wonderful place to camp out during spring and fall migration season and provides an excellent vantage point from which to scan for sea birds and marine mammals. The undeveloped shrub/scrub habitat between the fore-dune and the platform attracts passerine species and small mammals. This is a popular beach for surf fishing through most of the year.
DON’T MISS: Visit in early spring to see endangered Piping Plovers arriving and establishing nesting territories along the beach.
THROUGH THE SEASONS:
Winter: Winter provides opportunities to observe diving ducks such as Long-tailed Duck, Scoters, Loons, Double Crested and occasionally Great Cormorant. Small flocks of Sanderlings work the surf. Winter is the best time to scan for Bonaparte’s gull and other seasonal rarities over the ocean.
Spring: Spring brings opportunities to observe migratory and local birds, particularly shorebirds. Nesting Piping Plover may be observed from the beach, beginning in mid-March. Look for various sandpiper species stopping over, as well as songbirds such as Common Yellowthroat and Yellow Warbler in the shrubs. Glossy Ibis, egrets and herons return to the marsh in late April and early May.
Summer: Diamondback terrapins nest on the bay-side beaches. Surf fishing is good for striped bass, bluefish, summer flounder, kingfish, skate, smooth dogfish and croaker. Pods of bottlenose dolphin can be seen close to shore. Shorebirds dart along the surf line after invertebrates. Piping Plover, Black Skimmer, American Oystercatcher and Least Tern are among endangered species nesting on the beach. Osprey carry fish to their nestlings. At dusk, ghost crabs and Clapper Rails become active.
Fall: Monarch butterflies stop to nectar on the seaside goldenrod as they journey South. Shorebird migrants such as Least and Semipalmated Sandpiper, Semipalmated and Black-bellied Plover, Dowitchers and occasionally Marbled Godwits feed along the rack line and mudflats. Watch for Peregrine Falcons and other raptors overhead, and for Royal and Caspian Terns amongst flocks of Forster’s and Common Tern. Northern Gannets and Brown Pelicans pass further offshore.
SPECIAL FEATURES: The impressive two-story viewing platform offers shelter from the elements, and an excellent vantage point for wildlife observation.