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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Lynn Jackson

Saturday April 17, 2010 - Coastal Delaware

A joint WAS/DVOC Field Trip

Although technically "spring", there was a decided nip in the air as about 10 intrepid birders met at the New Castle Airport ready to head south along the Delaware coast to Bombay Hook NWR. Temperatures hovered all day around 60 degrees but the brisk wind and intermittent clouds often made it feel much chillier. Still we had a fun day and found lots on good birds.

Our first stop of the day was at Dragon Run Park where we had good looks at : Wood Duck (3+) , Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe (1), a fly over Little Blue Heron, the first of many Osprey and a couple of Chimney Swifts. We also had the first on many Bald Eagles .

The wind definitely made our next stop a bit challenging. The Grass Dale Center at Fort Dupont offers some lovely woods and grasslands along the Canal but our best birds there were mostly "heard only birds": Carolina Wren, House Wren , Common Yellowthroat , Chipping Sparrow and Field Sparrow

Crossing over to the south side of the Canal we explored Dutch Neck Road and added 2 very cooperative Ring-necked Pheasant , about 20 Cattle Egret in high breeding plumage and some Caspian Terns

Continuing south we stopped at Augustine Beach and looked for Cliff Swallows along Rt 9 (with no luck) before hitting our lunch spot at the Aquatic Center just above Woodland Beach.

After a nice lunch (and surprise birthday party for Pam) we were treated to a Killdeer in the parking lot using the "broken wing" dislay to distract us from her nearby chick. We also several Kestrels along the roadside and a Forster's tern

We finally got to our final destination, Bombay Hook , to find the tides seriously "in" so we didn't get the high numbers of shorebirds we would have found had there been more exposed mudflats, but we had a nice selection anyway. At the Visitor's Center we had Purple Martin, Barn Swallow, White-throated and White-crowned Sparrow . Highlights at the Hook included : a few ducks including Shoveler and Green-winged Teal , all the expected herons and egrets including at least 10 Black-crowned Night-herons, 3 fly over Glossy Ibis, both Vultures, more Bald Eagles, No. Harrier and Peregrine Falcon. For shorebirds we had: Black-bellied Plover, Black-necked Stilt , American Avocet, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Willet (1), lot of Dunlin, Short-billed Dowitcher and several Wilson's Snipe .
Total for the day: about 68 species of birds.

We also had 4 species of Butterflies: E. Tiger Swallowtail, Cabbage White, Orange Sulphur and Mourning Cloak; 2 very cooperative foxes and an over-all great time.

Thanks to everyone who showed up.

Picture by Steve Huber