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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Martin Selzer
August 20, 2005 (Saturday)
Bombay Hook, DE Part II
Our August trip to Bombay Hook began slowly but after reaching a quorum of about 5 cars of birders we started around the auto route and by the time we made our first stop at Raymond, we had grown to about 9 cars with a few more cars and people joining us at our first stop. We didn’t stop along the route in but heard swamp sparrow, great-crested flycatcher, eastern pewee and eastern kingbird as we drove by. Roosting in the trees at the drainage channel were snowy and great egrets, green and great blue herons.
The recent rains had provided some much needed water and lots of the longer legged waders were in Raymond. The flock of American avocets had grown to its typical late summer numbers of several hundred, a few black-necked stilts were still around, there were hundreds of dowitchers and try though we might we couldn’t 100% positively identify any long-billed dowitchers. Both lesser and greater yellowlegs were also abundant in the mixed flock. In the shallower edges peeps were well represented mostly by western and semipalmated sandpipers, as well as a few leasts and somewhere around 15 white-rumped sandpipers. The white-rumps were right near the road and this allowed everyone a chance to get good looks at them. Also in the shallower edges were semipalmated sandpipers, a couple black-bellied plovers and one distant, uncooperative pectoral sandpiper. While scanning all the waders a tri-colored heron dropped in for a quick look adding to our heron/egret list. We moved to the north end of Raymond in hopes of picking up something new and did manage to scare up a few bobolinks from the fragmities. We did have a juvenile bald eagle soar over impoundment while we were here. This was the second of three eagle sightings we had for the day.
Our stop at Shearness turned up several stilt sandpipers and a dunlin while the tern flock here held two Caspian Terns in with the Forster’s. We also had some glossy ibis and a few snow geese. Canada geese, mallards, shovelers, green-winged and blue-winged teal represented waterfowl at the refuge this day. At the turn into Bear Swamp the first few cars had a nice male blue grosbeak perched up but as we moved closer he flew off. At the night-heron roost, we picked up two yellow-crowns and several black-crowns. Both yellow-crowns seem to have been in the exact same spot for two months that makes finding them rather convenient. We also had a few immature least sandpipers. We returned to Raymond Pool to see if anything new had arrived as the incoming tide was inundating the marsh. Alas, nothing new could be found.
From here several people made a dash to pick up lunch before the group headed down to Ted Harvey to try for the sedge wrens that had been found there just the week or so before. Along the way out we stopped at the recently harvested potato field along Route 9. This field had held semipalmated plovers, killdeer and horned larks as we arrived at the refuge and the plovers and a least sandpiper or two were still there as we left. The group slowly reconvened and we were able to get a sedge wren to pop up and pose at the top of a nearby fragmity. We then walked to the beach where ruddy turnstones and sanderlings were added to the day list. As we returned back to the sedge wren spot, another field trip was observing the wrens. This was fortunate for the last two lunch stragglers, as they had missed the wrens when they first passed this spot although they did have a least bittern.
At this point I turned the field trip over to Colin Campbell , as I had to get home to go to the Phillies game. (they won 6-1). He took the group to the North Pond at Ted Harvey where they picked up three black and 6 least terns. A quick visit to Taylor’s gut found it flooded but a gull-billed tern was seen by at least two people. From there the group took a run into Maryland in hopes of seeing dickcissels. They dipped on the dickcissels because of three kestrels that were hunting in the field. A likely story.
Thanks to everyone for joining me on the trip, to Colin for taking over when I had to leave and Kate Somerville for the picture of the sedge wren.
Image by Kate Somerville