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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Colin Campbell

Friday - Sunday May 12-14, 2006 - DELAWARE HOTSPOTS AND GOURMET WEEKEND

This three-day event kicked off with a hearty Helen's sausage and egg which sufficed for the 4+ hours at Bombay Hook which gave us 85 species, amongst which were Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Peregrine, Skimmer and Prothonotary Warbler. Certainly enough for the excellent crabcakes at Sambo's in Leipsic for lunch. Port Mahon filled in some blanks in the shorebird list, with Red Knot and Oystercatcher the pick of the bunch, then Ted Harvey gave us Least Bittern, White-rumped Sandpiper and Caspian Tern. We camped at Trap Pond State Park and discovered that the planned restaurant (El Nautico) had closed down; luckily another Mexican had opened up north of Seaford, so we did not go fajitaless that night.

We had to make do with DD for breakfast in Laurel before walking along Cherry Walk at the Nanticoke WMA. Red-shouldered Hawk circled overhead screaming, both Yellow- and Black-billed Cuckoos were noisy too, the latter seemingly causing a Barred Owl to start up! Warblers were hard but the expected Yellow-throated, Pine, Protho, and Ovenbird all gave good looks, along with 4 spp of vireo. We learnt of a close-by location for Grasshopper Sparrow, but on getting there, the only sparrow was a singing Vesper, perhaps a rarer species down here! Chapel Branch was quiet but still gave good views of singing Scarlet and Summer Tanagers. Lunch was taken at the Pit BBQ, followed by a tour around Trussom (nesting Rough-winged Swallows, beautiful Swamp Cypress trees) and Trap Ponds (Yellow-breasted Chat, Blue Grosbeak). The usual venue for the Saturday night dinner, The Old Mill Crabhouse, was even more packed than usual, so rather than wait the 90 minutes, we backed off to the Bonanza buffet and got totally stuffed. Relaxing by a cosy campfire later with a malt scotch was a good way to end the day.

The coffee need on Sunday was great enough for us to have to make another detour to DDs in Laurel, the Gumboro shop having burnt down last year; I guess the build-up of scrapple and muskrat fat just spontaneously exploded one day. Sad, really. The Pocomoke River area was also quiet but the Kentucky, and later the Worm-eating Warbler did make appearances along with Acadian and other flycatchers. Lunch was taken at the always good Em-Ings BBQ in Selbyville, the Collared-Dove deciding not to make a showing that day. We proceded to Cape Henlopen State Park where both loons, Brant, R-b Mergansers, Piping Plover, Royal and Least Tern and Brown-headed Nuthatch boosted the list. We learnt that a White-winged Dove had been seen here two days previously and indeed met another birder who claimed he'd seen it just half an hour before. So we spent some time searching to no avail before calling it a day.

A fine weekend with excellent company. 146 Species is about average for this trip.


Colin Campbell