About Chimney Rock

The Chimney Rock hawk watch is located in Washington Valley Park, on the First Watchung Ridge in Martinsville, New Jersey. The Somerset County Park Commission generously provides and maintains the platform and parking lot for the hawk watch. The Chimney Rock hawk watch is operated and maintained by the Foundation for Avian Research and Education of NJ (FARE of NJ) Avian Migration Project. As part of FARE of NJ, Christopher Aquila is the Director of the watch. Official counting duties are performed by Aquila, volunteers, and Rutgers University students. John Kee serves as statistician for Chimney Rock.

The general public is encouraged to come out and watch the hawks.

Location of Chimney Rock and Nearby Hawk Watches

 Chimney Rock
 Wildcat Ridge
 Sunrise Mountain
 Raccoon Ridge
 Scott's Mountain
 Cape May
 Bake Oven Knob
 Hawk Mountain
 Militia Hill

The Landscape

The Watchung Mountains, on which Chimney Rock is located, are made up of three roughly parallel ridges that stretch from northern to central New Jersey. They form a "J" shape, begining in the Ramapo Mountains in northern New Jersey, stretching South past Paterson, Montclair, Summit, Watchung, and Martinsville. At Martinsville, the Watchungs curve back North, passing Bridgewater and ending near Pluckemin.

Chimney Rock is located on the southernmost ridge - First Watchung Ridge - at the southernmost point in the Watchungs, where Northeast- and Northwest-trending portions meet.

It seems likely that this is one of the reasons that Chimney Rock is such a good site to observe hawks. When birds traveling in a generaly southerly direction along The First and Second Watchung Ridges get to Martinsville, they can either turn northward or they can head out over the plains of central New Jersey. Many of them decide to go South and pass over Chimney Rock.