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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Martin Selzer
February 25, 2006 (Saturday)
Indian River Inlet North, DE
|A dozen club
members and friends joined me for our field trip to Indian River Inlet,
Delaware. The wind was blowing (isn’t it always at the inlet), the
sun was shining (making the wind a bit more tolerable) and the tide was
rushing out. In all my visits to Indian River, outgoing or incoming tides
seem to be the most productive. While I would like to claim that I planned
the trip according to the tides, those of you who know me well, would know
that was a lie.
This winter hundreds of surf and black scoter have been frequenting the jetties of the inlet and we were not disappointed as they were still there. Common and red-throated loons, long-tailed ducks and brant were also seen in the surf around the jetties and northern gannets were seen offshore. Although the numbers of all these species seemed reduced from the previous week, they were still plentiful. Missing from the previous week were the lone harlequin duck and pair of razorbills. Oh well, win a few, lose a few. Both jetties held small numbers of ruddy turnstones while a lone purple sandpiper was spotted on the south jetty. Two great cormorants were on the south jetty tower. As we returned to our cars, a harbor seal was seen in the channel.
A quick scan of Rehoboth Bay as we made our way to Silver Lake yielded lesser scaup and common goldeneyes. Silver Lake held 100s of canvasbacks, bunches of ruddy ducks, mallards and black ducks and a single redhead. After making sure everyone saw the redhead well, we made a move to Cape Henlopen State Park (CHSP). The feeders at the nature center were quiet, (only a couple of chickadees and goldfinches were there and no brown-headed nuthatches at all) as was Herring Point. A lone Bonaparte’s gull was the highlight at CHSP before we kept moving north.
Prime Hook, NWR and Broadkill Beach were our next stop. The best birds of these areas were two white-crowned sparrows and a male purple finch at the feeders by the nature center and a covey of northern bobwhites that we scared up behind the nature center. Our next stop heading north was Ted Harvey, WMA were we missed the Eurasian widgeon but we did have American coot, American widgeon, northern pintail, northern shoveler and gadwall in the north pool.
Our last stop of the day was along Cartanza Road
where the challenge this winter has been finding the Lapland longspurs
and snow buntings amongst the flock of horned larks. We were very fortunate.
The large flock of larks was relatively close to the road, no more than
50 yards and perfectly lit. We scanned the larks and were lucky enough
to have a snow bunting appear right next to a strategically discarded
aluminum can. I found the bunting first and using the can as a reference
point was able to get everyone on the trip on to the bunting. As you know,
one tuft of earth looks like any other in these fields so having a single,
obvious landmark, as this piece of garbage was a huge help. We continued
scanning the flock when Frank
called out, “in front of the can, Lapland longspur”. And darn
it if he wasn’t correct! This bird was well on his way to breeding
plumage and again thanks to the can, everyone saw it. Realizing, that
it was not only getting late in the day but that we really would be hard
pressed to finish the trip on a better note, we called it a day.
Images by Bert Filemyr