from February to a month later in March our field trip to Indian River
Inlet and points north found a smattering of lingering wintering visitors
and some early spring arrivals as we made stops at the north jetty of
the Indian River Inlet, Silver Lake in Rehoboth, several places in Cape
Henlopen State Park, Broadkill Beach, Prime Hook NWR and Bombay Hook NWR.
Highlights from are starting point at the inlet as we moved north included:
• At Indian River Inlet there was a large flock
of Long-tailed Ducks and numerous Northern Gannets although the crashing
tide precluded any shorebirds on the jetties and there were no scoters
close to shore
• At Silver Lake in Rehobeth there still were
100+ Canvasbacks from the larger flock that wintered there, 10-15 Ruddy
Ducks (some coming into breeding plumage), a few Ring-necked Ducks and
a Laughing Gull
• At Cape Henlopen State Park:
o We found Brown-headed and Red-breasted Nuthatches
at the Nature Center and Campground.
o At Henlopen Point we ran into Frank Rohrbacker who told us there
were Piping Plovers on the beach and joined us in finding 2 pairs
of these delightful plovers. In the waves around the breakers were
5 Common Eider, Black and Surf Scoter, Horned Grebes and Red-breasted
o From the bay overlook at Fort Miles we had more Northern Gannets
and 100s and 100s of scoters. Clearly these birds had moved into Delaware
Bay to stage as part of their north bound migration.
• At impoundments at Broadkill Beach we had 100s
and 100s of Northern Shovelers, a pair of Osprey, several Northern Harriers,
Green-winged Teal, Gadwalls and a roosting on an Osprey-platform out
in the open, a Great Horned Owl. Mike Rosengarten made a great find
of this bird here.
• At Prime Hook NWR we had an American Kestrel,
numerous Yellow-rumped Warblers, and a Brown Thrasher.
• At Bombay Hook NWR
o There still were several White-crowned Sparrows
around the visitor center
o Raymond Pool had a mixed flock of waterfowl consisting of Northern
Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Black Duck, Mallard, and Tundra Swans
o Rounding the corner between Raymond and Shearness Pools we had a
Common Merganser and Greater Scaup
o In the mud flats opposite Shearness there were at least 5 sub-adult
Bald Eagles, Black-bellied Plovers, Greater and Lesser Yellow-legs
o Bear Swamp Pool held Snow Geese and Wilson’s Snipe and as
we made the turn back towards the refuge headquarters two Eastern
Bluebirds were in the field hawking insects.
Thanks to everyone for joining me on this year’s
trip. While it was not the typical winter adventure it still is a great
route to bird any time of year!