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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Colin Campbell

February 9, 2008
Delaware City, Delaware

The ten participants met at the Veterans Park at the end of Clinton Street, Delaware City. Scoping across to Pea Patch Island produced Great Blue Herons actively nest-building on the island but sharp eyes then espied a pair of Long-tailed Duck, a very good bird this far up the Delaware River. Almost as good was another bird more closely associated with the ocean - a Red-throated Loon - which casually floated out from the adjacent small canal. Both Double-crested and a fly-by Great Cormorant were more expected. Three Red-breasted Mergansers were all showy drakes. Next was a visit to Dragon Run Park where great views of several duck species were obtained, the 'best' being Common Merganser (6), a female Goldeneye, a pair of Wood Ducks and a female Lesser Scaup. Also present were Mute Swan, Kingfisher and a Bald Eagle adult sitting by its nest.

To fill out the list, next was a walk around Fort DuPont State Park, fortified by Hershey kisses. The woods were very quiet - exemplified by a large, quiet, flying shape generally assumed by those who glimpsed it to be a Great Horned Owl - but around the edges produced a couple of Catbirds, American Tree Sparrows and two Fox Sparrows. A very co-operative adult Cooper's Hawk (which may have explained the dicky-bird quietness) flew in and posed at close range. Over the Reedy Point Bridge next and the Thousand Acre Marsh gave 2 Pied-billed Grebe, an imm. Bald Eagle and hundreds of Pintail. Due diligence by one participant finally rewarded the Peregrine searchers below the road bridge and, as it flew, it was joined by a second bird which then headed for the nestbox. Good news.

Dutch Neck Road was lergely bereft of birds, including the anticipated White-crowned Sparrows, but en route to Port Penn, a flock of Snow Geese revealed a lone Cackling Goose; most Cacklers in the state seem to associate with the Snows. After being mobbed by bread-seeking Ring-billed Gulls at Augustine Beach, we risked life and limb to see a pair of American Wigeon in a roadside pond without room to park. We ended this morning trip at Delaware City with a total of 64 species.

Above photos by Bert Filemyr

Cooper's Hawk by Cliff Hence