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Barnegat Light in Winter - $300

  • Barnegat Lighthouse State Park Maritime Forest Trail Barnegat Light, NJ, 08006 United States (map)

$300 for up to 3 hours

Available from February 18 - March 24

Join me in photographing the wide variety of wintering waterfowl and shorebirds at the Barnegat Light jetty and beach.  It's a cold and usually windy place to be but you can find such a variety of birds concentrated along the jetty here that can be tough to find anywhere else, most famously the Harlequin Duck!

You will join me on and around the jetty as we search for birds on the rocks, in the water, in the air and on the sand.  I recommend a morning visit which will start out with us getting set up on the end of the jetty to watch sunrise and look for Purple Sandpipers or a flock of Ruddy Turnstones feeding on the rocks at first light.  Hopefully a flock of Harlequins will swim by or maybe a Long-tailed Duck will be diving just off the jetty.  After a bit of sitting if there is not a lot of action at the end of the jetty we will make our way back towards the lighthouse finding more Turnstones and maybe some Sanderlings, Dunlin or Black-bellied Plovers once we reach the beach area. There is a good chance a few Red-breasted Mergansers will cruise by as they dive along with Common or Red-throated Loons.  The occasional Black or Surf Scoter is also a possibility as well as plenty of gulls flying overhead.  Most visits are filled with birds all around you and it's all about taking advantage of the opportunities that are presented to capture the best angle, light and moment.  I'll be there to guide you along the way as well as keeping an eye out spotting for more birds for you.  While walking along the jetty can be a rather arduous task you can relax a bit more as I do most of the work running around the rocks and scouting for birds that you can photograph.  An afternoon visit can be arranged if you would prefer that time of day.

What to Expect:

  • It's almost always cold and windy at Barnegat Light in the winter months.  Occasionally you will get a calm day with warmer temps, most likely not.
  • Generally we will find a comfortable spot to sit that has a decent number of birds moving around it and wait patiently for close approaches.  There will however be times when walking along the jetty will be necessary. This location is generally not for anyone with any sort of mobility issues but if you do have them let me know and we can discuss the options.
  • We will slowly move along the jetty and photograph on the inlet side as well as the beach side depending on the tide.  If you are not very comfortable walking the jetty I will be able to scout for you as you walk along the sand and I can tell you when to get on the jetty for an opportunity.
  • While on the jetty birds can be found on the jetty rocks, floating along in the water, some duck species will be divers, there will also usually be opportunities for flying birds.
  • While working the beach side there may be opportunities for ground level photos of sandpipers and plovers.
  • There are no guarantees with any species but if you have a particular one or more in mind please mention that when scheduling your day and I can tell you when a particular bird can be more commonly seen.


  • Arriving at Barnegat Light roughly 45 minutes before sunrise, it will be a 15 minute walk through some soft sand to reach the end of the jetty where we will get set up before sunrise.  If it's not an overcast day you will get a chance to photograph the sun rising up over the Atlantic Ocean and then we will move our attention to birds right after sunrise. As we move along the jetty the sun will be to our backs providing the best lighting conditions.


  • Arriving at Barnegat Light roughly 3 hours prior to sunset, your start time will be provided based on the date you choose.  We will start by the lighthouse and work our way towards the end of the jetty with the sun to our backs. 


  • Lenses from 300mm to 600mm recommended
  • A tripod is possible to use but can be cumbersome.  A monopod or hand held is the easiest to move around with.
  • Low level tripod or ground pod if you plan on laying prone for any beach side photos
  • Warm clothing and layers since it can start out very cold but warm up when the sun starts shining.  Be sure to bring gloves you can operate your camera with.
  • Wear very sturdy hiking boots with good traction for the jetty.
  • Depending on the weather sometimes the jetty can become icy in spots so crampons can be helpful.

What I will provide:

  • I will be doing most of the scouting work to find flocks or individual birds for you to photograph.  I can tailor the search to specific birds you may be after.
  • I will provide you with camera setting suggestions if you would like as well as tips and tricks to improve your bird photography.
  • The cost of the workshop includes up to 3 hours of photography
  • Your day will only be cancelled for rain or extreme wind at which time you will have the option to reschedule.

Target Species:

Main Targets:

  • Harlequin Duck
  • Long-tailed Duck
  • Red-breasted Merganser
  • Brant
  • Common Loon
  • Dunlin
  • Ruddy Turnstone
  • Sanderling
  • Purple Sandpiper
  • Black-bellied Plover
  • Herring Gull
  • RIng-billed Gull
  • Double-crested Cormorant

Likely to see:

  • Black Scoter
  • Surf Scoter
  • Bufflehead
  • Common Eider
  • Red-throated Loon
  • Bonaparte's Gull
  • American Oystercatcher
  • Piping Plover

You can view some example photos I've captured over the past few years as well as a video showing what it can be like at Barnegat Light.  Contact me using the Book an outing button at the top and I hope to get a chance to hang out with you and help you capture some wonderful winter birds along the NJ coast this winter.

Earlier Event: November 1
Hooded Mergansers - $250