Wildlife Observation Platform Rebuilt on Sandy Hook

Rebuilding of the wildlife observation platform has been completed at Sandy Hook. The original platform, overlooking Nike Pond off the Old Dune Trail, was burned down by a fire of unknown origin in 2008. The project was completed thanks to incredible teamwork, including funding from The Sandy Hook Foundation and the Monmouth County Audubon Society, support from Builders General Supply Company and Walsack Home Improvements of Fair Haven, and leadership from members of the Sandy Hook board, especially Jim Lizotte for construction, Dave Hoder for engineering, and Pat Alcaro for management. Additionally, “The National Park Service at Sandy Hook has been extremely accommodating and helpful with this project,” said Jim Lizotte. “We could not have done it without them.” The new construction is complete and ready for migratory observations.

Mr. Barnes of the Monmouth County Audubon Society also described some birds one might encounter in at Nike Pond, including the state threatened Black-crowned Night Heron, which are suspected of breeding nearby and are present from April through October. “Pied-billed Grebe, a variety of waterfowl such as Wood Duck, American Wigeon, Black Duck, Mallard, Green-winged Teal, and Ring-necked Duck utilize the pond during migration. The phragmites reeds around the pond attract Common Yellowthroats, Marsh Wrens, Swamp Sparrows, and Red-winged blackbirds. Large flocks of swallows, mostly Tree Swallows and Barn Swallows, feed over the pond during the warmer months. By late fall, only the ducks and Pied-billed Grebe remain, but it’s not long before they return during spring migration,” said Barnes.



(photo, l. to r. back) Todd Walsack, Bob Walsack, Jim Lizotte, a Sandy Hook Foundation board member
(front) John Lizotte, Todd’s son, Michael Lizotte, and Thomas Lizotte



To get to the bird blind: Park in the north west corner of Beach E parking lot and walk north on the Multi-Use Path (the paved biking and walking path adjacent to the parking lot). Head north and just past the beach center find the trail marker for the Old Dune Trail. Follow that trail north for about ¼ mile until you come to the raised wooden platform. The blind is down in front by the pond. There is also a wide dirt path that runs from the Ranger Station to the ocean beach. Halfway down the trail there is an interpretive sign. Turn left (north) and the blind is a few hundred yards ahead.


* The blind was destroyed by Super Storm Sandy. No details have been provided yet for the rebuilding.