Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge


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I visited the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in southern New Jersey with a photography group a few years ago. The group leader had reserved a tour for us on an electric tram with a naturalist. Check the Refuge Events page of the Forsythe website for information on reserving a tour.


The National Refuge was created in 1984 out of the existing Barnegat and Brigantine refuges in order to protect tidal wetlands for migrating water birds. The refuge is located along most active flight paths of the Atlantic Flyway and is named for Edwin B. Forsythe, a conservationist and a former NJ Congressman.


The tram took us around the 8-mile wildlife drive while the driver told us about the history of the area and the types of birds that can be found in the refuge. We stopped at several points and got out to take some photos.


On one side of the loop, there is the incongruous juxtaposition of the refuge with the Atlantic City skyline.


We wanted to take a more leisurely loop around as we hadn’t been able to stop everywhere we wanted on the tram. So once back at the visitors center, we piled in one of the cars.


The snow geese were in the wetlands at the time of our visit…hundreds of white birds covering the wetlands as far as we could see. Snow Geese gather by the thousands at the refuge each winter.


While there, we also saw a few different ducks, egrets/herons and a juvenile bald eagle. Osprey also come here to nest, but we were there too early in the season for them.


Location: 800 Great Creek Road, Galloway, New Jersey 08205

Designation: National Wildlife Refuge

Date designation declared: 12/18/1986

Date of my visit: February 2016

A juvenile bald eagle perches on an osprey habitat with Atlantic City in the background.



22 thoughts on “Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

  1. Looks a bit strange to see the birds before the tall buildings. Glad there is somewhere close to the city where you can see them. We saw snow geese in a pond in Saskatchewan in late October preparing for their migration. And we have seen them near Vancouver where they seem to thrive both coming and going. They are strange looking birds close up. Allan

    1. Ah, this isn’t ‘my’ city. When I hear ‘the city’ I think New York, and there aren’t many wild place in such close proximity to the New York City skyline. AC is much smaller and it is plopped down in the middle of lands with federal protections because the ecosystem is so important for migration. When you are inside AC, it’s dirty and edgy like any other city with a depressed economy, but this is what you get just a few miles away.

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  4. I liked the contrast between the big city and the preserve. When I think of New Jersey, concrete is what comes to mind. Of course, I’ve never been there, so what do I know.

    1. Thanks! That is a common misconception about New Jersey…understandable because most of the TV series and movies set here focus on the big hair, obnoxious accents and the Mafia lol. But New Jersey is ‘The Garden State ‘ for a reason. 😃

  5. It is, of course, better to have this refuge, rather than not have it, but it makes me sad to see how birds and other wildlife are confined to ever-smaller areas that provide some type of suitable habitat for them, and to imagine the traffic they have to maneuver to reach them.

    1. Yes, well we are the most densely populated state due to our proximity to New York City in the North and Philadelphia in the South. In spite of that, you’d be surprised how much green space has been preserved here specifically to protect the migratory paths. The osprey and bald eagles have made an amazing comeback since I was a child. It’s been a challenge with this administration to keep some of the protections in place…they want to drill for oil off our shores.

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