Monday, August 22, 2016

Bombay Hook 8/20--Black-necked Stilt, Marbled Godwit

American Avocets, Bombay Hook
At least once a year, Shari & I like to make a trip to Delaware to bird Bombay Hook & Prime Hook. This year we had the added pleasure of Bob Auster's company. We had extolled the great birding at the two hooks to him so much that I was afraid they, like Whitesbog, might not live up to our descriptions but they both fulfilled our expectations.

We weren't at Bombay Hook more than 15 minutes before we came upon two huge flocks of American Avocets feeding in Raymond Pool. In New Jersey, if there are a few avocets in one spot, birders come running from miles around. At Bombay Hook, they're as common as Semipalmated Sandpipers are at Brig. It was great fun to watch the avocets feed, moving together in a large oval, swishing their bills in the water to find little fish.

We went around the 3 main pools--Raymond, Shearness, & Bear Swamp--& had lunch near Finis Pool. Then we did it again. At our 2nd look at Shearness there was a large flock of shorebirds, terns, geese, you name it, out on a sand bar and indefatigable Bob was determined to check out every bird searching for his target bird of the trip. After a while he yelled out "Stilt!" and I came running up the road. In his scope he had found his lifer Black-necked Stilt.  It is so much more rewarding to find a lifer on your own. Black-necked Stilts are not rare in the Delaware impoundments, but you don't find huge flocks of them as you do avocets, and it is easy to miss the bird. The next day, in the same place, Bob & I saw what we took for another avocet, only to have Shari point out that it was indeed a stilt, probably the same one as the previous day's. Too bad both times the bird was too far away for photography.

On our second trip around Raymond Pool the avocets had moved closer (see above) and there were a couple of birders there who were looking at each & every sandpiper (and there were thousands) trying to tease out a Western Sandpiper. Or White-rumped Sandpiper. These are birds I've seen this year and this month, and while I'm always happy to build up the trip list, the lighting and the distance wasn't going to give me a satisfying look even if one was found.

Now, Marbled Godwits are a different story. Marbled Godwits are big. And there were two  of them in among the avocets. I no more than plunked down my scope and found them. Again, a little too far for photography, but great bird nonetheless. (Now, if I only get them for Ocean County this year.)

On Sunday we drove down to Prime Hook and along Prime Hook Beach Road we had a fantastic amount of birds, including at least 6 White Ibis, another Marbled Godwit, Black Skimmers and Ruddy Turnstones. Prime Hook itself didn't have much in the way of shorebirds, but we did pick up Blue Grosbeak and Indigo Bunting. Fowler Beach Road was closed; it seems a lot of work is being done to the weather damaged roads and for reasons I don't understand, that has moved the water around so that some impoundments, like Broadkill Marsh, are very dry, while others, like along Prime Hook Beach Road, have more water than they usually do.

Water got in the way of our next stop. Shari & I like to go to the DuPont Nature Center in Mispillion--it is where we get her oystercatchers. There is a sign at the beginning of the road that says "WATER ON ROAD" and usually there are a few puddles. But this time there was no distinction between the bay and road and after we watched a couple of cars go through the water up to their wheel wells we decided not to risk it.

We worked our way north and made another trip around Bombay Hook. The skies were getting grayer and grayer and the weather cooling considerably. I kind of pushed us along hoping to make the circuit of the three main pools before the rain started and we timed it just about perfectly, as the skies opened up just as we returned to the visitor's center. It did not, however, make for a very pleasant ride back to New Jersey with returning Delaware shore traffic and torrential rain all the way up to our house.

For the weekend we had 75 species, not bad considering we did little in the way of passerine searching.
Species                First Sighting
Canada Goose   Bombay Hook NWR
American Black Duck   Bombay Hook NWR
Mallard   Bombay Hook NWR
Blue-winged Teal   Bombay Hook NWR
Northern Shoveler   Bombay Hook NWR
Pied-billed Grebe   Bombay Hook NWR
Double-crested Cormorant   Bombay Hook NWR
Great Blue Heron   Bombay Hook NWR
Great Egret   Bombay Hook NWR
Snowy Egret   Bombay Hook NWR
Little Blue Heron   Bombay Hook NWR
Tricolored Heron   Bombay Hook NWR
Black-crowned Night-Heron   Bombay Hook NWR
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron   Bombay Hook NWR
White Ibis   Prime Hook NWR
Glossy Ibis   Bombay Hook NWR
Black Vulture   Bombay Hook NWR
Turkey Vulture   Bombay Hook NWR
Osprey   Bombay Hook NWR
Cooper's Hawk   Frederica
Bald Eagle   Bombay Hook NWR
Red-tailed Hawk   Bombay Hook NWR
Clapper Rail   Bombay Hook NWR
Black-necked Stilt   Bombay Hook NWR
American Avocet   Bombay Hook NWR
Black-bellied Plover   Bombay Hook NWR
Semipalmated Plover   Bombay Hook NWR
Killdeer   Bombay Hook NWR
Marbled Godwit   Bombay Hook NWR
Ruddy Turnstone   Prime Hook NWR
Sanderling   Ted Harvey WMA
Dunlin   Bombay Hook NWR
Least Sandpiper   Bombay Hook NWR
Semipalmated Sandpiper   Bombay Hook NWR
Short-billed Dowitcher   Bombay Hook NWR
Greater Yellowlegs   Bombay Hook NWR
Lesser Yellowlegs   Bombay Hook NWR
Laughing Gull   Bombay Hook NWR
Herring Gull   Bombay Hook NWR
Least Tern   Bombay Hook NWR
Caspian Tern   Bombay Hook NWR
Forster's Tern   Bombay Hook NWR
Royal Tern   Bombay Hook NWR
Black Skimmer   Prime Hook NWR
Mourning Dove   Prime Hook NWR
Belted Kingfisher   Prime Hook NWR
Downy Woodpecker   Bombay Hook NWR
Eastern Wood-Pewee   Bombay Hook NWR
Eastern Phoebe   Prime Hook NWR
Great Crested Flycatcher   Prime Hook NWR
Eastern Kingbird   Bombay Hook NWR
White-eyed Vireo   Prime Hook NWR
Red-eyed Vireo   Bombay Hook NWR
Blue Jay   Bombay Hook NWR
Fish Crow   Prime Hook NWR
Horned Lark   Whitehall Crossroads - Leipsic
Tree Swallow   Bombay Hook NWR
Barn Swallow   Bombay Hook NWR
Carolina Chickadee   Prime Hook NWR
Tufted Titmouse   Prime Hook NWR
White-breasted Nuthatch   Prime Hook NWR
Carolina Wren   Bombay Hook NWR
Gray Catbird   Bombay Hook NWR
European Starling   Prime Hook NWR
Seaside Sparrow   Bombay Hook NWR
Field Sparrow   Bombay Hook NWR
Eastern Towhee   Bombay Hook NWR
Blue Grosbeak   Prime Hook NWR
Indigo Bunting   Prime Hook NWR
Red-winged Blackbird   Prime Hook NWR
Eastern Meadowlark   Bombay Hook NWR
Brown-headed Cowbird   Bombay Hook NWR
House Finch   Prime Hook NWR
American Goldfinch   Bombay Hook NWR
House Sparrow   Bombay Hook NWR
Bald Eagle, Bombay Hook

No comments:

Post a Comment