The Kearny RivieraBy
The Kearny side of the Passaic, just across from Newark, has it all: tidal riverbank, a thin strip of parkland,
and even a sewage outfall,
with its own capacious parking lot.
It’s a great spot for some quiet gull watching, especially if you’re as enamored of Ring-billed Gulls as I am lately.
Thanks to their dark eyes and neat bicolored bills, the first-cycle birds are especially sweet-looking.
This time of year, Ring-bills — most of them adults, with smaller numbers of first-cycle individuals and a very few second-cycle birds — far outnumber the other larids, but there are always a few Great Black-backed Gulls hulking over everything else, and Herring Gulls are easy to find, too, of course: just look for a gap in the flock, left open by the ring-bills’ very practical sense of self-preservation when in the company of the big boys.
The count from my latest visit, on a sunny Thanksgiving morning, is pretty representative of the experience this time of year: 271 Ring-billed, 43 Herring, and 6 Great Black-backed Gulls. Another small handful of species is possible here, maybe even inevitable given the site’s proximity to Kearny Marsh and Newark Bay, and I’ll be on the lookout this winter for Iceland, Lesser Black-backed, and maybe even Glaucous.
The habitat’s certainly right.
If you want to check this area out, park in the lot south of the abandoned Pathmark store; the riverside between there and Applebee’s has lots of gulls, most of them hoping for a handout. Kearny Riverview Park stretches narrowly north from there between Passaic Avenue and the river, with regularly spaced parking lots.