An almost great day in Del

Went to Delaware on a birding trip today, the 6th, with Mike Framptom-Price. The first stop was Jimmy’s, but it was raining so we didn’t really lose any time. Between Denton and Port Mahon we saw Crows, TVs, Starlings, Rock Doves, Ring-billed Gulls, Mallards, Mockingbirds, Cormorants, a Red-tailed Hawk, Song Sparrows, Horned Larks, Herring Gulls, Mourning Doves, Canada Geese, Robins, Cedar Waxwings ,Northern Harriers ( saw 13 all day), and G. Yellowlegs.

At Port Mahon we saw this really big flock of goldfinches. We estimated there were a 100 in the flock and neither of us recalling seeing a flock that big. We saw these right where you can walk into the photography blind, not far from where the road takes a sharp left to follow the water. We jumped an American Bittern there, a bird neither of us had seen for a long time.

Moving on the Port Mahon Rd we saw: Ruddy Ducks, a Laughing Gull (looked like it was sick), a one-legged Sandpiper, lots of Dunlins, maybe 1000 all day, Great Blue Herons, Tree Swallows, Coot, Bald Eagles and a flock of Tundra Swans, the first either of us had seen this year.

Driving through Leipsic we saw a police car waiting for prey. We drove by at a reasonable speed, but saw that he was pulling out and catching up to us. Then his light went on. I thought maybe I was going 26 in a 25 but when he got to us he noted that Mike wasn’t wearing his seat belt when we went by him. We were in and out of the car so much it was a miracle that I had mine on. While he was back writing out the ticket 4 Bald Eagles flew over and we got out to watch them. He came back and gave me the ticket but said that it would be normal for the person who didn’t have the seat belt on to pay the fine. $51, pretty steep. I’d just made a contribution to the State of Delaware about a month before for speeding so I’m doing my part to keep Delaware afloat. Apart from the good birding there must be other good things to say about Delaware, but we couldn’t think of any at the time.

Heading toward Bombay Hook we saw a Kestrel grab a praying mantis and fly off with it. As soon as we got to Bombay Hook the mosquitoes were after us. We went up to that first observation platform and were bitten several times. From the tower there were about 1000 Snow Geese in front of us. Mixed in were about 20 Blue Geese and two that were completely dark. Nether of us had seen or heard of one before. I took a picture of one and hope I can download it here. From the tower we saw flock of Avocets, lots of Pintails, and a pair of Shovelers.

Before leaving the refuge we also saw: Buffleheads, Kingfishers, GW Teal, White-throated Sparrows, a Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jays, and Bluebirds. We stopped at the headquarters building and asked if mosquitoes were ever this bad this late in the year. There was one flying around her head when she said that they have never had them this bad this late.

Neither of us had been to Woodland Beach so we drove there and saw House Sparrows, a Junco, a Cardinal, and a Forster’s Tern. We walked out on the new and first-class fishing pier there. You never saw such humble houses with such good views of the water—there is nothing like it in MD.

We birded on the way home and stopped off at Red Bridges. We saw a Cooper’s Hawk, a Sharp-shinned Hawk, a Pileated Woodpecker, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, Chickadees, Field Sparrows and Towhees.

What a great day! It’s just hard to go out and spend a day birding like that and not see something you’ve never seen before. I can’t remember ever having a bad day birding.

Best, Steve

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