Wilder Side of New Jersey

A supplemental guide for Sparta Camera Club on beautiful places for nature photography in New Jersey. Leave a comment here or email me at dave@daveblinder.com for any additional questions.  Be sure to also follow me on Facebook.

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Wildcat Ridge WMA
Rockaway Township, Morris County NJ

Scenic area, good for birding, macro, landscapes, mammals. Other activities including hiking, hunting, mountain biking. Hikes can range from easy to strenuous

Area info – http://www.wcrhawkwatch.com/kiosk.html

Bat Cave Parking Lot – https://goo.gl/maps/XmYQ4eAT7vcUfjaT6

Hawk Watch Parking Lot –


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Jonathan’s Woods
Denville/Rockaway, Morris County NJ

Includes wetlands, forest, small meadow. Good for birds, macro, possibly landscape. Walks go from very easy to moderate difficulty. Free guided hikes by the POWWW organization visit http://powww.org or http://facebook.com/protectourwetlandswaterwoods for upcoming events.

Area info – https://www.morrisparks.net/index.php/parks/jonathans-woods/

Parking Lot –


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Great Bay Boulevard WMA
Little Egg Harbor, Ocean County NJ

State open space, VERY good for photographing birds (Osprey, warblers, sparrows, sandpipers). Also for good for landscapes and maybe a few butterflies to be found as well. Most of the journey is a scenic drive on maritime road which ends at a beautiful natural sand beach that should be walked.

Area info –

Parking –


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Franklin Parker Preserve –
Chatsworth, Burlington County NJ

11,000 acre nature preserve in Pine Barrens. Outstanding wetlands for landscapes. Also very good for macro photography and botany. Abundant wild blueberry as well. Not many services nearby, bring lunch with you.

Area info – https://www.njconservation.org/preserve/franklin-parker-preserve/

Parking –


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Double Trouble State Park –
Berkeley, Ocean County NJ

Easy gateway to New Jersey Pinelands nature, close to Garden State Parkway. 8,000+ acres. Walks are very flat and level on sand trails. Very good for landscapes, dragonflies, birding. Also outstanding kayaking on Cedar Creek.

Area info –

Parking –


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Ken Lockwood Gorge WMA –
Lebanon, Hunterdon County NJ

Scenic peaceful walk along South Branch of Raritan River. Very good for landscapes and also some birds. Walking trail is broad and level. Can also be good for bike riding.

Area info –

Parking Area –

Gray Skies at Splitrock Reservoir

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Gray Skies at Splitrock Reservoir
Rockaway Township NJ
I love walking the rocky bluffs around Splitrock, they are good for wildlife observation and also good for landscape shooting.

Spring Landscape Photography at Wildcat Ridge WMA

Spring Landscape Photography at Wildcat Ridge WMA

An expansive beaver marsh in Rockaway Township made for a nice opportunity to photograph scenery. Incoming rain clouds and soft overcast light set the mood so I setup my Canon 10-18mm lens, Canon SL2 DSLR, and Manfrotto tripod to try to capture the scene.

This particular trail is off of Green Pond Road and parking is just opposite Lake Denmark Road in Rockaway Township NJ. Beautiful nature area with great wildlife habitat.

2019 Rockaway Township Town Planner Calendar

Rockaway Township NJ Town Planner Calendar 2019
Woodland Trail to the Beaver Pond

We are quite fortunate to have nearly 6,000 acres of open space preserve at Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management Area in Rockaway Township. There is a great diversity of flora and fauna to preserve. I took this photograph at the end of Upper Hibernia Road on a pleasant Summer afternoon.

Protect Our Wetlands Water and Woods September 2018 Hawk Watch Hike

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this morning’s Protect Our Wetlands Water and Woods (POWWW) September Hawk Watch Hike and nice to see other friends and volunteers out this morning Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch!

All photos taken with the Tamron USA 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD All-In-One Lens.


Click on thumbnails below to view larger images.



We travelled approximately 6 miles round trip and began our trip on the Orange Trail on Old Beach Glen Road on Rockaway.  We followed the Orange Trail for a nice riparian walk parallel to the Beaver Brook before making a waterway crossing via the Eagle Scout Bridge.  We then walked across Meridan Road to pick up the Blue Trail within Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management Area.

We ascended the Blue Trail and turned onto the Red/Blue Blaze before finally connecting to the White Trail (Four Birds Trail) and heading to our destination at the Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch.

Wildlife sightings included: Northern Cricket Frog, Pickerel Frog, Pileated Woodpecker (2), Sharp-shinned Hawk, Black Bear!, Five-lined Skinks

About POWWW:

Protect Our Wetlands Water and Woods’ Mission is to protect wetlands, woodlands and potable water supplies throughout the Beaver Brook watershed in Denville, Rockaway and Boonton Townships. POWWW identifies and supports land acquisition and provides site stewardship and public education programs. POWWW is a charitable 501(c)(3) Denville-based non-profit open space organization.  Founded in 1987, POWWW has partnered with local municipalities to preserve 650 acres of permanent open space for passive recreation.

Find POWWW on the web:



For more information, upcoming events, or donations please email us at:


Couple of shots from Rockaway Twp NJ

2 quick shots from my hike up to Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch this morning in Rockaway Township NJ.

I was scouting out the trail conditions for our upcoming Protect our Wetlands, Water and Woods September 15th hike – https://www.facebook.com/events/322868031605161/

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Sasso Tract in Rockaway Township NJ, this is a great connector trail from Jonathan’s Woods to Wildcat Ridge.

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Frank Budney scans for migrating hawks at Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch. Rockaway Township NJ, August 2018.


More details for POWWW’s September 15th Hawk Watch Hike are here on TapInto.

Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch 9/23/2017

A few quick views from one of my favorite local vistas.

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Photographer taking a shot of NYC in the distance. Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch, September 2017, photo by Dave Blinder.

The Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Management Area Hawk Watch also serves as an unofficial community center for nature observation and study.

NJ birding

International Hawk Week banner. Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch, September 2017, photo by Dave Blinder.

A great service to the public has been provided by Bill Gallagher and more recent NJ Fish&Wildlife Volunteers. Bill will be missed.

NJ hawk migration

Volunteer Frank Bundy tallies passing raptors. Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch, September 2017, photo by Dave Blinder.

These giving folks greet newcomers to the hawkwatch and provide birdwatching knowledge and tips to all.

Rockaway Township NJ

Visitors come to discuss migration. Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch, September 2017, photo by Dave Blinder.

The volunteers also provide raptor migration data sheets to NJF&W and other wildlife monitoring organizations.

New Jersey Nature Area

Visitors take in the panoramic view. Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch, September 2017, photo by Dave Blinder.

Visit the Wildcat Ridge WMA Hawk Watch this Fall. Parking is available at the far end of Upper Hibernia Road in Rockaway Twp NJ. Ascend the gravel road on foot 6/10 of a mile before turning for Hawk Watch access. Bring binoculars, water, and a snack.

Visit the WCR Enhancement Website for more detailed visitor information.