Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bombay Hook 8/15--Northern Bobwhite, American Avocet, SEDGE WREN, Bobolink

Shari & I made our summer pilgrimage to Delaware's birding hot spots this weekend. We drove down Friday morning and by noon we were driving the dusty dikes around the impoundments. When we go to Delaware we usually have two species in mind, but this trip our main target bird was all the way at the far end of the refuge, past where you can drive, in some fields near an old house that dates from the late 18th century. It was here that we were finally able to hear--and briefly see--our lifer SEDGE WREN. It isn't a spectacular looking bird; in fact, it is the proverbial Little Brown Job, but it does have a distinctive song (two notes, a slight pause, then a rapid trill) that I studied before we got there. So, while walking on the path I stopped dead when I heard the song. I motioned for Shari to listen and there it was again. I won't count a bird's song until I hear it twice (except for Blue Jays and chickadees). We heard it multiple times, perhaps as many as 10 times, and saw it pop up briefly. The trip became an immediate success.

In that same field we saw fairly large light brown birds with yellow-buffy breasts flying around the tall grass and couldn't place them for a while--they were just too big to be sparrows--until I realized they were Bobolinks in their winter plumage. We managed to get the scope on a couple of them as they perched on some stalks.

We'd already ticked off American Avocet--one of the two main shorebirds we go down there to find--on a sandbar in the back of the Shearness Pool.
Photo: Shari Zirlin
These birds still had their salmon-colored heads--I actually prefer them in their stark black and white winter plumage. 

We also had two out of season waterfowl on our way to the Sedge Wren--in one scope view from the observation tower at Bear Swamp Pool we had a Snow Goose and a Tundra Swan. The swan, I've read, is injured. The Snow Goose is actually not that unusual as I recall seeing one there in previous summer trips. 

We were in the parking lot at the end of the day, just about to leave when I heard the distinctive call of the Northern Bobwhite--another year bird, and one I can safely count, as opposed to the birds in NJ where their provenance is often suspect. 4 new birds for the year, one a lifer, is not bad work for 5 hours.

55 species
Snow Goose  1    
Canada Goose  50
Tundra Swan  1     
Wood Duck  2
Mallard  20
Northern Shoveler  2
Northern Bobwhite  1    
Great Blue Heron  10
Great Egret  10
Snowy Egret  60
Little Blue Heron  3
Green Heron  2
Glossy Ibis  6
Turkey Vulture  5
American Avocet  62
Semipalmated Plover  5
Spotted Sandpiper  1
Greater Yellowlegs  50
Lesser Yellowlegs
Least Sandpiper  5
Semipalmated Sandpiper  200
Short-billed Dowitcher  100
Laughing Gull  2
Ring-billed Gull  1
Caspian Tern  8
Forster's Tern  10
Mourning Dove  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1     Heard
Northern Flicker  1     Heard, Bear Swamp Pool
Peregrine Falcon  1
Eastern Wood-Pewee  4
Eastern Phoebe  1
Eastern Kingbird  6
Blue Jay  2     Heard
American Crow  1     Heard
Tree Swallow  100
Barn Swallow  50
Carolina Chickadee  2     Heard
Tufted Titmouse  1
House Wren  1     Heard, Allee House area
SEDGE WREN  1     
Carolina Wren  1     Heard
Eastern Bluebird  2
Gray Catbird  5
Northern Mockingbird  2
European Starling  3
Eastern Towhee  1     Heard
Field Sparrow  2     Heard
Song Sparrow  1     Heard
Blue Grosbeak  2
Bobolink  4
Red-winged Blackbird  3
Orchard Oriole  1     Yellow
American Goldfinch  5
House Sparrow  4

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