Posted by admin | Under Delaware Bird-A-Thon
Monday Jun 4, 2012
Posted by admin | Under Delaware Bird-A-Thon
Monday Jun 4, 2012
Hi. I’m Zoe Yost and I’m nine years old. This is my first year in the Delaware Dunlins and also my first participation in the Delaware Bird-A-Thon. I really enjoyed the experience. Our day started at 3:30 a.m. (earlier than I get up for vacations!!) and finished at 9:30 p.m.— a total of 17 hours!
My mom (Sarah) and I teamed up with Derek Stoner. We met at Ashland Nature Center and drove to Dragon Run Park, arriving at 4:30 a.m. We were targeting owls and rails. At this stop we identified several species, like Barn Swallow and Common Yellowthroat, but we left owl-less and rail-less. On the way out, we bumped into John Janowski at Thousand Acre Marsh. At a well-placed roadside pause, Mr. Janowski played the Sora call and a Sora answered three feet away!
Next, we went to the Port Penn Wetlands Trail and got Glossy Ibis flying over, Common Moorhen, Orchard Oriole, King Rail and others—but no owls! The moorhens were especially cool! Everything was “waking up”—it was spectacular! Red-winged Blackbirds were singing, bullfrogs croaking, Moorhens clucking, a mink was swimming, and there were muskrat huts—–all in a few minutes.
7:00-9:15 am: Ted Harvey Wildlife Management Area. Here, we got a WARBLER EXTRAVAGANZA!! Canada, Cape May, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Magnolia, Black-and-white, Blackpoll, Yellow-Rumped, American Redstart, Northern Parula, Common Yellowthroat, WHOA!!!!! They were all fluttering around in the branches hunting caterpillars—making it difficult to see them. The Black-and-white was “scooting” around on the tree trunks. Blue Grosbeak was a life bird—so neat!
As we were leaving we saw a Wild Turkey running in front of our van and that led us to seeing a group of Wild Turkeys in the road. They were so big—and they weren’t flightless! This stop was a real highlight and we left with over 15 new species, mostly warblers.
9:30-10:30am: St. Jone’s Reserve. Meeting up with Dominic and Monica Morell we found the day to be growing warmer and the insects coming out—with an appetite. After a visit with Cutter “Natural” Insect Repellent, our search resumed. Although many birds thrived and were identified in the reserve, Green Heron, Eastern Bluebird, & Chipping Sparrow were new-on-the-list. A highlight was the tree swallows in their nesting boxes. They were all sticking their heads out and we got a peek inside one of the boxes–with a swallow in it!
11:00-12:00pm: Fowler Beach. At this stop we were joined by yet another family from the Dunlins– Kathleen O’Neil, her mom and “grammie.” This was our first plethora of shorebirds. There were many species, familiar and unfamiliar, including Dunlins, Black-bellied Plovers and Willets. Black Skimmers flew back and forth to their roosting island. I quite liked the Spotted Sandpipers—so cute! By noon, we had gotten our goal of 100 species. But looking at the time, the goal was bumped up to 125 species.
12:20-1:00pm: Mispillion Harbor. Red Knots were a MAJOR highlight—-I’ve read about them and wanted to see them. They were an important life bird for me. I hope to get closer to them in the future. Lesser Scaup wasn’t a life bird, but it was neat and I hope it doesn’t become an x-scaup!
2:00-5:30pm: Bombay Hook NWR. After a much needed lunch break, we headed out on the Bombay Hook drive, revived by a Wendy’s Oreo parfait. Tundra and Mute Swan, Veery, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and Least Bittern are just 5 of the 18 species we identified there. Yellow-breasted Chat was a highlight for its beautiful song. Although Bombay Hook was full of birds, the bright, hot afternoon guaranteed no owls. So, determined to find an owl, we headed north.
7:00-7:30pm: White Clay Creek State Park. Here we only managed to add 2 new species to our list, but getting to see a Yellow-throated Vireo on her nest was well worth the stop. Where were the owls?!
7:40-9:00pm: Middle Run Natural Area. Continuing on our determined quest to find owls we headed to Middle Run. A Pileated Woodpecker flew right over our heads in the parking lot! In the heart of the woods, we could hear all the birds getting ready to go to sleep; we were surrounded by Wood Thrushes. It was simply magnificent. Prairie Warbler was a highlight, and we added singing Louisiana Waterthrush, Acadian Flycatcher, and a Hairy Woodpecker. We looked for owls, but found none. Although, it’s hard to believe a Barred Owl could have resisted Derek’s Barred Owl call!
9:15-9:30pm: Ashland Nature Center. By now, I had been up since 3:30 a.m. I was crashing! We looked for Eastern Screech-Owls, but, oh, BOTHER!!! We finished the day owl-less! Oh, well…..time to go to bed…….
We had identified 135 species in all! It was a great day for raising funds to buy and preserve essential habitat for birds. In short, this was a fantastic experience for me. I’m especially thankful to Derek Stoner, who made this day possible.
– by Zoe Yost
To support my conservation efforts, please contact us at email@example.com, or visit one of my donation points in Hockessin: George & Son’s Seafood, Wild Birds Unlimited, and Harvest Market. To make things more interesting, I have a donor who will match my funds raised up to $3,000!
THANK YOU FOR HELPING ME MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
photos by Derek Stoner
Posted by admin | Under Delaware Bird-A-Thon
Tuesday May 29, 2012
I had a very exciting Big Day for the Delaware Bird-A-Thon! I decided that I was going to keep a ‘diary’ to record the happenings of my Big Day so that I could share them later. So now I’ll share them with you (!):
On Friday May eleventh I had just finished taking my karate lesson when my mom, my Grammy, and I headed downstate to our hotel, where we would stay overnight. That way we could get an early start the following morning…
8:15 PM- Branmar Plaza (in Wilmington)
“I’m heading south to the hotel (though I can hardly write with all of these pot holes). We’re all exhausted already! I really need to be on top of my game tonight so that I get every possible bird for my list. I will be so happy if I hear an American Bittern call ‘cause I’ve always wanted to hear it. I just passed my middle school! My Mom just informed me that we’re stopping at Reedy Point Bridge to try and add King Rail and Least Bittern to our list (because we heard them there on the rail trip last week). I’ll check back soon.”
We tried really hard for Least Bittern and King Rail but to no avail. I guess that either my iPod wasn’t playing their calls loud enough to attract their attention or the birds simply were not in the mood to call. Unfortunately opening the windows caused a lot of mosquitoes to get into our car. Grammy used our map to squash them but I think that it only made them angry…
9:15 PM-making our way back to Route 1
“Grammy and Mom are squashing mosquitoes (I let one out my window). I got no birds at Reedy Point Bridge so therefore my big day hasn’t started yet. We have less than an hour until we have to check in at our hotel and I’m not sure that we are going to make it! We will start birding after we check in.”
Even though we were late checking in to our hotel they held our room for us. I was really excited, hoping to hear the two ‘goat-suckers’ and the drive to the road they sang on seemed far too long to wait…
10:55 PM- On my way to Big Stone Beach Road
“We just checked in at the hotel (AmericInn) and now we’re heading to Big Stone Beach Road in search of ‘Whips and Chucks’ (Whip-poor-wills and Chuck-will’s-widows). I’m so excited that I feel like I’m about to burst. I’ll write real soon.”
I did not write that night because I was extremely tired. I was also glad my big day did not have to end until eleven fifteen that night (twenty-four hours after I saw my first bird for the day). I needed plenty of time to add tons of birds to my checklist…
7:07 AM- In our hotel room
“Sorry I did not write last night but I was extremely tired! Last night I heard one Whip-poor-will but no Chuck-will’s-widows. I’m a little disappointed but I did add a Sora onto my list last night! My official big day started at 11:15 PM (when I heard the Whip-poor-will). This morning out of the hotel room window I heard/saw: American Robin, Common Yellowthroat, European Starling, Common Grackle, Field Sparrow, Cedar Waxwing, Ring-billed Gull, Laughing Gull, Rock Dove, Northern Parula, and House Sparrow.
We went to Prime Hook and stopped in a patch of woods that turned out to be a gold mine for migrants. I think that the best bird was a Worm-eating Warbler that I heard. A Pine Warbler was also a good find. Once we got to the nature center we were overwhelmed by hundreds of Purple Martins! I even got a picture of one that wasn’t too bad for a digital camera. We walked the boardwalk trail getting migrants such as Black-throated Blue Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, and Northern Waterthrush. I even heard a Great-crested Flycatcher. It wasn’t a bad start (certainly better than I had expected it to be)! I wondered how Mr. Derek and Zoe were doing…
10:30 AM- trying to find Fowler Beach Road
“I’ve had such an awesome morning! I’ve had tons of warbler species and flycatchers as well. We’ve been hanging around Prime Hook all morning and now we have to get to where Mr. Derek, Zoe,and Dominic are.”
At Fowler Beach I identified many of the shorebird species that were present. Suddenly some Clapper Rails started making a racket in the salt marsh. Once Mr. Derek, Zoe,and Dominic showed up we began to catch glimpses of the Clapper Rail as it darted out into the open for half a second. Then it was off to Mispillion Harbor in search of Red Knots…
1:07 PM- Leaving Mispillion Harbor (and Dupont Nature Center, home of the Red Knot statue)
“I am now birding with Zoe because Dominic left. Mispillion Harbor was full of Red Knots, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Semipalmated Plovers, and Ruddy Turnstones, Laughing Gulls, Sanderlings, and Willets. We heard a lot of Clapper Rails at Fowler Beach and I even got to see one. We are on our way to Bombay Hook now (but we are stopping at Wendy’s first! It turns out that Zoey likes Wendy’s just as much as I do! I’ll write soon.”
We all stopped at Wendy’s and I got a chocolate frosty (my favorite). On our way through Smyrna to get to Bombay Hook I saw Chimney Swifts…
3:00 PM- Bombay Hook NWR
“I just ate lunch (Wendy’s of course!) in the pavilion at Bombay Hook. Zoe showed me a photo album with awesome pictures of birds that her mom took! I gave her a pom-pom Red Knot I made. I’ve got to get back to birding now!”
We drove around Bombay Hook and stopped to walk a trail I had never walked before. We were running out of daylight so we had to move fast. On the trail we heard a Least Bittern calling from the reeds and saw a Swainson’s Thrush and a Veery. Later on we heard a Common Gallinule (Moorhen) and saw an American Coot. We then left Bombay Hook to see a colony of Cliff Swallows under a bridge…
5:30 PM- Leaving Bombay Hook
“I’m really tired but I’m going to stick it out. We got some awesome birds at Bombay Hook such as Black-crowned Night Heron, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Least Bittern, and Swainson’s Thrush! Next we are going to see Cliff Swallows under a bridge. I hope that Mr. Derek will take us owling when it gets dark.
We stopped at White Clay Creek State Park hoping for a new warbler species for our lists. Unfortunately no warblers were found. We did, however, get to hear a Baltimore Oriole! After that we headed to Middle Run to add some last minute species to our lists. We heard the dusk calls of many species, the most exciting of which was Louisiana Waterthrush. Mr. Derek did an excellent imitation of a Barred Owl but nothing answered except for an Orchestra concert we could hear in the distance…
8:30 PM- On our way to Ashland
“We just stopped at Middle Run Natural Area and I got five new species: Prairie Warbler, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Hairy Woodpecker. It was fun but now we’re heading to Ashland in hopes of hearing a Screech Owl.”
Mr. Derek did an excellent imitation of a Screech Owl but no luck there either. We said goodbye to Zoe and Mr. Derek and headed back home. We tried for Eastern Screech Owl at my house but no owl answered. It was then that I knew that my big day was finally over!
All in all I had an amazing Big Day. Whip-poor-will was a life bird for me and I got 130 species in total! I am still accepting donations for my Red Knot Fund. Since all the money goes towards helping Red Knots and other migratory shorebirds I want to raise as much as I can! I want to thank my Bird-A-Thon sponsors: Pat Caputo, owner of Pat Caputo’s American Karate studio in Branmar Plaza; Mr. Fawks, my great homeroom & math teacher; my Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop, my Grammy, and my wonderful mom. I’d also like to thank my mom for chauffeuring me around all day! I’d especially like to thank Mr. Derek for showing us around all day! I had an amazing Big Day and it’s great to know that this year and in the years to come all of the money raised in the Bird-A-Thon will go to purchasing shorebird habitat along the Delaware Bay. I’m happy that I am able to be a part of that effort.
- by Kathleen O’Neil, age 12
To contribute towards Kathleen’s Bird-A-Thon effort, please contact her mother Amy at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by admin | Under Delaware Bird-A-Thon
Monday May 21, 2012
This year, Sharon Lynn and I decided to have a Big Day for the Delaware Bird-A-Thon that would be solely Sussex County, Delaware. In other years, my team has done a Wilmington area Big Day or a full Delaware Big Day, and Sharon and I both decided it would be fun to concentrate on a smaller area. We still ended up putting nearly 150 miles on the car as we zoomed back and forth across the county.
We began the day at 4:15, leaving Sharon’s driveway on schedule and hoping for nightjars and rails along Oyster Rock Road, and some owls before daybreak. We heard a Great-horned Owl and both the Whip-poor-will and the Chuck-will’s-widow. At the end of the road along the shoreline of the Delaware Bay, many shorebirds were spooked from the headlights and took off before we could identify them.
As dawn approached we drove coastal roads, arriving at Prime Hook NWR just as the gate opened for the day. A Screech Owl called softly from the entrance and we heard the soft ‘veer’ of the Veery. A loud vireo sang from the top of a tree and we identified it as a Yellow-throated Vireo – not a song that Sharon knew, but one that I had recently listened to. Sharon told me to watch out for Wild Turkeys in the fields along the road and they were there as predicted. In fact, we saw Wild Turkeys several times throughout the day; a testament to their increasing numbers in the state. We drove to the Prime Hook headquarters and walked the boardwalk where we got a Northern Waterthrush and Prothonotary Warbler. Turkell Pond Road was next where we found the Yellow-throated Warbler and a couple of woodpeckers.
We decided to head to Redden State Forest to the famous Red-headed Woodpecker spot where the Prairie Warbler is also a regular – we got both. Just down the road, we walked along a ditch where Louisiana Waterthrush, Kentucky Warbler, and Wood Ducks were found. We also were stopped by some beautiful butterflies – particularly a Red-spotted Purple, which I expect to see later in the summer. We drove to the third part of Redden to look for more warblers. We got Pine Warblers and a beautiful Summer Tanager, but no luck on the Worm-eating Warbler, a target species.
There is a field where Ken Bass, a local birder, first discovered the nests of several field birds that were not known to nest in Delaware. Three days before, Sharon had scouted that field and had seen Grasshopper Sparrows and Dickcissels and assured me we would have them. Our morning, there were none to be found – no territorial males posing on poles or blades of grass singing their hearts out. However, Sharon heard a Vesper Sparrow, also uncommon, singing across the street. Check! One more for our day list.
Next destination was the coast again, so we drove out to Fowler Beach and got a variety of shorebirds, Black Skimmers, and a couple of American Oystercatchers. A Least Tern flew over the water’s edge. This is a spot where the fresh water impoundment was destroyed a few year’s back and it is now becoming a salt marsh. The changing bird life was quite apparent. I was able to see a Red Knot there that Sharon missed, and a Great Blue Heron was so dapper in its breeding plumage that I hardly recognized it.
We drove along coastal roads, stopping to see some Black-bellied Plovers in a field and were lucky to see an American Kestrel flying in a distant field. On to the DuPont Nature Center at Mispillion where a full complement of shorebirds (like Short-billed Dowitcher) and gulls added to our list. From there, we headed to Cape Henlopen to get the Piping Plover, which was ridiculously close across the ‘no entry’ fence.
It was time for a break, so we drove to Sharon’s house for a Diet Coke and Ruby-throated Hummingbird as we sat on her back deck. We left refreshed and headed to the Indian River Inlet hoping for something unusual to finish the day. There was very little on the ocean, but we spied a sandpiper on the jetty which should have been long gone to the arctic – the Purple Sandpiper. As we remarked on that unexpected treat, a Royal Tern flew over making it our last bird of the day.
Compared to last year, this year may not have had quite as many birds, but the day was relaxed (if you can call 4am to 7:30 pm relaxing!) and fun and we had a chance to explore some nooks and crannies of Sussex County. We had some obvious ‘misses’, like a Red-tailed Hawk, which we will certainly try to get next year. However, we also had some unexpected birds. Several species of ducks and the Purple Sandpiper should have been long gone to their Northern breeding spots. Our Big Day was a great day in the field, made better knowing that we were doing it for the Bird-A-Thon. Getting out like that is always a spectacular way to enjoy Delaware and its wildlife.
- Story by Sally O’Byrne and photos by Sharon Lynn
If you would like to contribute to these ladies’ Delaware Bird-A-Thon effort, please contact Sally at: email@example.com
Posted by admin | Under Delaware Bird-A-Thon
Sunday May 20, 2012
By Sally O’Byrne, Field Trip Leader and former DOS President
Photos by Kathy Barrowclough, DOS Member
The Delaware Bird-A-Thon walk at Alapocas Woods on May 8 hit the best weather of the day. We had 10 participants who worked together to find 57 species. Other than the Wood Ducks on the Brandywine River, the walk was dominated by songbirds, with an excellent mix of migrants and nesting birds. Along the river we were serenaded by Warbling Vireos and saw Rough-winged Swallows enter nesting holes in the abandoned factory walls. Under the cliffs we watched Baltimore Orioles chasing each other as they carried grasses in their beaks. We found 2 pairs of Orchard Orioles, and watched as one built a nest.
In the woods, we had a great comparison of Wood Thrush, Veeries, and Swainson Thrush, and the similar looking Ovenbird. We heard Scarlet Tanagers throughout the walk, and got great looks at a couple. A Rose-breasted Grosbeak was heard in the same place it nested a few years back, but no nesting behavior was found.
A total of nine warbler species were seen and/or heard and we had satisfying looks at most.
One memorable encounter was with a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk sitting in the forest, allowing for very close looks. All in all a very good walk, and an introduction for many of the group to one of my favorite walks.
- Sally O’Byrne
Posted by admin | Under Delaware Bird-A-Thon
Wednesday May 16, 2012
By Steve and Chris Johnas
We started our 2012 Delaware Bird-A-Thon (our first ever) at 3:00 am pulling our car off the road near Thompson’s Bridge at Woodlawn Wildlife Refuge. A thick fog blanketed the open river valley as we set out listening for owls. Right away we were greeted by the deep, hollow call of the Great-horned Owl! The moon, nearly fully lit the dirt path for our walk along the Brandywine Creek. After walking a large loop we found our way back to the car for a quick snack. Just then only a few hundred feet away came the piercing hoots from a lone Barred Owl! 5:25 am- slowly one by one the birds began to call. Chris, our friend Jared, and myself set out to begin the ‘birding bonanza’. We followed a few trails through Woodlawn eventually tying in with Brandywine Creek State Park.
Our bird species list was adding up quick, so quick that we needed to assign one person to primarily writing down all the bird species. 7:00am- Birds such as the White-eyed Vireo, Great-crested Flycatcher, and Scarlet Tanager were exciting sights to see amongst the various warbler species. We made our way to the higher elevated Brandywine Creek State Park by 8:30 am. This location is a prime example of the ‘Piedmont Region’ known for its rolling hills and pretty views.
Species such as the Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, and Savannah Sparrow were spotted in this extensive habitat. 10:30 am- after nearly 8 miles of hiking with our binoculars glued to our eyes, and necks twisted in every direction, we finished our first segment of the day (The Piedmont Region) with 70 birds!
Thanks to a bit of help from some coffee and sandwiches, Chris and I were eager and excited for our next stop at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. We arrived at our destination at noon. The refuge is a vast expanse of fresh and salt-water marshes, ponds, and mudflats– thus a great location to find a variety of waterbirds. The refuge is set up with an ‘auto tour’ road winding in and around unique habitats. This makes it easy to stop at your leisure and identify birds.
Observations of Willet, Black-necked Stilt, and a Marsh Wren were made here amongst many other interesting birds. At one point during our trip here we visited an observation tower that over looked a large pond, the small flies were so bad that we couldn’t keep our binoculars up to our faces for more than 5 seconds without having to wipe 25 or so flies from our arms and faces! After a fun 2 hours of birding, and key observations of a Bald Bagle and Screech Owl, we headed south again.
After gaining 28 more bird species we felt pretty good on our way down to Cape Henlopen, now only two shy of original goal of 100! We arrived on the sandy dunes of the cape around 5:00pm. The wind was relentless and the sky a bleak gray. Other than a few sightings of Osprey, and Double-crested Cormorants ( which were already on our lists) we did not see much at all. Nervous that we wouldn’t reach our goal of 100 we headed inland a few hundred yards to some Pine Barrens. Here within the thick woods we spooked several Black -crowned Night Herons from their roosting site on the tops of some pine trees. A Pine Warbler was also spotted. Chris and I camped out the night there at Cape Henlopen State Park and in between the noises of fellow campers and a few crying babies, we finished out our long day hearing the call of the Whip-poor-will.
To support Steve and Chris’s Delaware Bird-A-Thon effort, contact Steve at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by admin | Under Delaware Bird-A-Thon
Saturday May 12, 2012
Story and Photos by Joe Sebastiani
My Delaware Bird-A-Thon efforts began at 3am, Saturday May 12th, standing at the south base of the Reedy Point Bridge near the C&D Canal, hoping for a King Rail to respond to my iPod. I played the recording, and sure enough, 2 responded, becoming my first bird of my big day. Nearby, I played a Virginia Rail recording and got two to vocalize back to me, making my railing efforts pay off early. A Yellow-breasted Chat sang nearby, which was nice, as I would not have to work hard to find that species later.
I got back in the car and hit the “Go” button on the GPS so that I could arrive at Milford Neck, one of the wildest places in Delaware, without thinking at this early, pre-dawn hour. Upon arrival, I got out of the car in the dark and immediately heard a calling Chuck-wills-Widow and a nearby “peenting” American Woodcock. Yes! They can be tough to find. On this lonely, quiet road I heard Whip-poor-wills, Great Horned Owl, a pair of Barred Owls, and called in an Eastern Screech-owl, making my pre-dawn birding very rewarding. I was off to a great start!
Down the road at Big Stone Beach, I watched the sun rise with a large pod of Dolphins swimming under its red globe. A very nice way to start a beautiful day! Driving back through Milford Neck, I spotted a group of birders in the woods. It was Chris Bennett doing the Spring Roundup bird survey. They had a huge group of warblers passing through so I joined them. We had a swarm around us that contained Northern Parula, Yellow Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Pine Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Common Yellowthroat, and Canada Warbler. This is exactly the kind of flock I needed to find!
Shortly after, I met my roommate from college, Justin Baker, a lifelong birder and friend. We took off to Redden State Forest and the Nature Conservancy’s Ponders Tract in central Sussex County but didn’t really add much to the list for the day. A biggie was finding a Worm-eating Warbler in the woods at Redden.
Off to Cape Henlopen State Park to the point. We saw Piping Plovers up close as well as a single Red Knot plus Least, Common, Forster’s and Royal Terns loafing on the sand bars. The wind was calm, the ocean was like glass, and we could see Cape May across the bay really well. Unfortunately, we saw no ocean species of birds like Northern Gannet or Loons. At the nature center, we quickly called in a Brown-headed Nuthatch.
Next was Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge where we added species like Prothonotary Warbler and Yellow-throated Warbler. A big hit of the day was the Dupont Nature Center at Mispillion. Hundreds of Red Knot lined the beaches with thousands of Dunlin and a few Sanderling. Clapper Rails and Seaside Sparrows were easy to find in the marshes near the center. A Lesser Scaup was in the harbor as well, and it looked injured, so it didn’t make the return trip north with the other scaup. It counted for our big day, though!
Up to Bombay Hook we went, and we scored big there adding Mute and Tundra Swan, Glossy Ibis, Least Bittern, American Coot, American Avocet, and Swainson’s Thrush among other birds. From here, we made stops at Taylor’s Gut for a Northern Shoveler, and saw the Cliff Swallows at their normal breeding spot along Route 9. Having missed Grasshopper Sparrow, we stopped at the Blue Diamond Park nearNew Castle where I easily have found them before. No dice on that bird, but I did pick up Little Blue Heron and a Northern Rough-winged Swallow for my trouble.
As I hit traffic in northern Delaware at 6pm, and with Justin on his way back to New Jersey, I figured I’d had enough birding for one day, and called off the quest for more. I finished with 149 species for the day. Hey, I have to leave some for next year!
If you would like to support Joe’s Bird-A-Thon effort, please contact him at: email@example.com
On Sunday, May 6, a group of 27 birders assembled at Middle Run Natural Area in Newark, for a special bird walk on Day 2 of the Delaware Bird-A-Thon. Eager to see Spring Migration in full swing, it did not take long to get into the birds! Making it very far on the trail was difficult, as we kept being distracted by the great birds flying by. Baltimore Orioles flew over, as did a pair of Great Blue Herons, Northern Flickers, and a surprising group of four Common Loons! And to add to the delight, the rolling hoots of a Barred Owl livened up the soundscape.
At Trail Marker 3, a female Tree Swallow perched with a piece of grass clutched in her beak. She busied herself with adding this to her nest in the birdhouse nearby, while we busied ourselves with enjoying scope views of handsome Cedar Waxwings. Soon an Indigo Bunting showed off its colors, and a male Orchard Oriole sang from directly over our heads. A very orange male Box Turtle stepped across our path, showing us that reptiles can be just as colorful as birds.
Then the real color show began: several male Prairie Warbler darted around from the top of one bush to another, flashing their streaky yellow colors. Then the loud whock-whock song of the Yellow-breasted Chat led us to looks at this stunning and large warbler. Not to be outdone, a couple of male Blue-winged Warblers bee-buzzzed to get our attention. White-eyed Vireos, Field Sparrows, and Eastern Bluebirds in this same meadow hardly earned a second glace while competing with the colorful warblers.
We entered the forest and soon came uupon a very vocal male Ovenbird that sat “glued” to the same branch for more than 10 minutes. After long looks at this warbler of the woodland floor, we made our way over to the creek where we had an immediate look at a Louisiana Waterthrush. Soon our attention was drawn to a beautiful nest high in a Beech tree: a female Wood Thrush was busy building this nest, and we watched her add leaves as she worked on this construction project.
On the way out of the thickets, right at Trail Marker 15, we came across a wonderful flock of migrants that included an American Redstart, Black-throated Blue Warbler, and a Northern Parula.
After a fun tour of the Middle Run Birding Trail, we’d tallied 56 species of birds and sampled a fine variety of Spring Migration. Severeal of our Delaware Dunlins youth birders counted these birds towards the Delaware Bird-A-Thon fundraiser. Thank you to all who took part!
Story and photos by Derek Stoner, Delaware Dunlins Program Coordinator