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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Martin Selzer

Saturday August 19, 2006 - BOMBAY HOOK NWR and ENVIRONS, DE Part 2

Photo by Alan Brady

About 20 club members and friends joined me on this trip. While our trip in July was characterized by high water level conditions in Raymond and Shearness Pools, August’s record low-lack of rain has produced low water level conditions in these same pools. Still there were some pockets of water and that merely concentrated the waders in these areas. It also, meant that once again, Bear Swamp was a hot spot. Between the three pools we put together a list of shorebirds that included: least, semipalmated, western, pectoral, stilt, spotted and white-rumped (thanks to Colin) sandpipers; greater and lesser yellowlegs; black-bellied and semipalmated plovers, killdeer, black-necked stilts and short-billed dowitchers. Long-legged waders were well represented by: great blue, tri-colored, and green herons; black-crowned and yellow-crowned night-herons; great and snowy egrets and glossy ibis. There were a few bald eagles in the area and a harrier or two. There were lots of tree, barn and bank swallows hawking insects over the impoundments.

A surprising find as we were leaving Raymond Pool was a female common merganser resting on one of the trees in the tidal channel. We also had a belted kingfisher via for attention at this spot. While scanning the mud flats opposite Shearness and grabbing a quick bite of lunch, Colin called me to say that he was looking at a pair of Wilson’s phalaropes and a handful of American avocets from the observation platform at Woodland Beach. They were in one of the back ponds there. Armed with this good news (I wouldn’t have thought to take the group up the tower); we proceeded there and found both birds, as promised. The phalaropes were lifers for several people. Thanks again Colin!

From here we continued north on Route 9 just a short way to find the scissor-tailed flycatcher that has been frequenting the fields around Paddock Road. It could not have been more cooperative as it was on the power lines as we pulled up. After 15+ minutes of watching this beautiful bird, we headed back south to Port Mahon Road where we picked up shorebird 17 and 18, sanderlings and ruddy turnstones. We also had adult and young royal terns roosting on the pilings at the old bait shop. The day ended here, thanks to everyone for joining me and making it a very pleasant day.

Martin Selzer