Higbee Beach Wildlife Area in Cape May
This beautiful stretch of beach at the end of Cape Island, along the Delaware Bay, draws visitors looking for natural pursuits: bird watching, sunbathing in the nude, picking beach plums, picnicking with the family, hunting for Cape May diamonds, walking the dogs, fishing and hunting. Higbee is a location for some of the best bird watching in the world. Botanists have been visiting for decades searching the dunes for nearly extinct brambles and flowers.
Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area on the Cape May point area is one of the United States largest migrations each fall as millions of birds arrive for food, cover and water. Higbee Beach provides migrants with a place to stopover as they increase their fitness before continuing their journey south.
The Thousand plus-acre area is a unique blend of many different habitats. The Endangered and Nongame Species Program, in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management helps manage the fields and scrub-shrub areas for the many migrating songbirds and raptors.
Visitors can see the vast stretch of Higbee Beach, containing the last remnants of coastal dune forest on the bay shore. The dunes are as high as 35 feet high in some places, the beach cliffs dropping down to the shoreline. The tress and shrubs of holly, red cedar, sassafras, persimmon, northern bayberry, scrub oak, black cherry, and beach plum help stabilize the dunes, despite winds that whip across the 12 mile wide bay, at its confluence with the Atlantic Ocean.
Visitors interested in viewing the spectacular migration should come to the WMA following a cold front with northerly winds. All you need is a set of binoculars and ID books. Note, Higbee Beach is also home to lots of dragonflies and butterflies, including the long-distance migrant – the Monarch butterfly.