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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Doris McGovern

April 25, 2004 (Sunday)
Three Old Forts Trip, DE

34 Participants, 74 Species.

Purple Martin and a singing Purple Finch were the first birds of the day as we assembled at the ferry dock in Delaware City, DE. At Ft. Dupont White-eyed Vireo, Prairie Warbler, and Great Crested Flycatcher were singing and we had great looks at Brown Thrasher, E. Towhee, Black Vulture and a sunlit Blue Grosbeak. Palm Warbler was our only migrant.

It was cool and very windy when we stopped under the Rt. 9 bridge at the canal. Bill Lane first spotted a Peregrine Falcon peering down at us from a support just under the deck of the bridge. She flew off with a starling(?) in her talons, she called, and settled on another support and continued to eat the bird while her mate circled over the nest (?) calling repeatedly.

At Ft. Delaware we saw both Yellowlegs, several Pectoral and Least sandpipers, Wilson’s Snipe and Am. Woodcock before getting long looks at 6-8 Yellow-crowned Night Herons which we renamed “Golden”-crowned Night Heron since their crown plumage was so fresh and bright. At the rookery the wind kept the herons and egrets on the nests. There were hundreds of herons, egrets and Glossy Ibis flying back and forth, but little activity on the nests. Cattle Egret, supposedly the most numerous nester there was missed and Tri-colored Heron with only a few nesting pairs was not seen.

On the crossing to Ft. Mott the wind really picked up. We were met by a jitney that took us to all the historical sites and then dropped us at the birding area. Black-and –white Warbler, Yellow Warbler, and lots of Yellow-rumps were seen, plus a Common Moorhen that flushed. Another Osprey was fishing in the small lake and we had great looks at all the birds. The only four Bonaparte’s of the day passed the ferry on the way back to Del. City as the wind whipped the waves over the bow and lots of tired birders shivered with the chill.

Images by Hank Hox