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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Lynn Jackson

Saturday July 16, 2011 - Bombay Hook (joint DVOC/WAS field trip)

The day was sunny and gorgeous with a nice wind and, for most of us, the bugs were a minor issue. That could explain the large number of Wyncote Audubon and DVOC members who showed up for our annual summer trip to Bombay Hook. I prefer to think it was because Delaware is the place to be to welcome back the southbound shorebird migration.

American Avocets
photograph by Steve and Laura Huber

Raymond Pool was the place to be with hundreds of egrets and heron and thousands of shorebirds. The rest of the refuge was extremely dry reminding everyone how desparately this area needs the rain. Shearness and Bear Swamp were mostly devoid of water forcing the birds to concentrate in Raymond.
We found a nice collection of Great and Snowy Egrets and managed to pull out an immature Little Blue. We also spent some time searching through the flocks of Glossy Ibis hoping to find a reported White-faced Ibis but without any luck.
We sorted through Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and thousands of Short-billed Dowitchers before finding several Stilt Sandpipers. American Avocets and Black-necked Stilts were fortunately very easy to find and, although distant, we worked on the "peeps" finding Least, Semi-palmated and Western Sandpipers.

We were working so hard to study the shorebirds, we almost failed to notice the Bald Eagles and Ospreys soaring overhead. Shorebirds can be tough and sometimes an ID is impossible but Bombay Hook is great place to learn because many of the birds are so close.

Glossy Ibis
photograph by Steve and Laura Huber

Traveling around the refuge people added Clapper Rail with chicks, an immature Yellow-crowned Night-heron, lots of Indigo Bunings, Blue Grosbeaks, Orchard Orioles, Eastern Kingbirds, Brown Thashers plus multiple great looks at Marsh Wren. Clouds of swallows turned up Tree, Barn and Bank Swallows and Cedar Waxwings flew overhead.
After a cool and pleasant lunch stop back at the Visitor's Center where we had Bluebirds, Purple Martins, American Goldfinch, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and Chat, we did a quick stop back at Raymond to see if anything new had come in.

It was a fun day. Thanks to everyone who came out to join us. And a special thanks to Steve and Laura Huber for their fantastic photos.