If you’re looking for a COVID-safe field trip in the Philadelphia/Southern New Jersey region, the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge and its birds can be just the thing. There’s plenty to see and not many other people around to crowd you in what is a vast stretch of coastal wilderness where primordial quiet meets the endless sky.
The 50 square mile sprawl of tidal salt marsh is one of the east coast’s leading places for bird watching — 290 different species of birds have sighted there (they keep a detailed list). In an area across the bay from Atlantic City, the Refuge offers an eight-mile drive on a dirt road atop dikes wending through the marsh. The number and kind of birds changes throughout the year but you will always see some of them. Here’s a few we watched on a warm day in May 2021.