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September: Bombay Hook, Delaware

On the reserve, Raymond Pool provided excellent views of American Avocet, Long-billed Dowitcher and Northern Shoveler. A little further off, the array of telescopes helped us study Black-bellied Plover, Marbled Godwit and both yellowlegs. A Hudsonian Godwit flew in giving good views of its diagnostic features of wing bar, black underwings, and black tail contrasting with the white rump.

The birds on the marsh were unsettled and periodically a Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon or some other unseen raptor would cause birds to relocate. Overhead a small passage of American Kestrels was joined by a Merlin. Out over the marsh several Northern Harriers hunted, mainly ginger colored juveniles. The first Snow Geese of the year for everyone in the group flew out to the coast.

On the Shearness Pool, the apparently injured Tundra Swan remains and joined a collection of ducks, terns and shorebirds in the distance. Several Caspian Terns, including juvenile birds, dwarfed the Forster's Terns, the only other tern species seen.  Northern Pintail numbers had increased over the previous weekend's sightings. For the duration of our visit, the tide remained high, concentrating our observations on the non-tidal areas.

Over a quick lunch break around the visitor's center, half a dozen Northern Flickers were seen and a berry-laden bush attracted Gray Catbirds and Brown Thrashers.

Returning to the third area, Bear Swamp Trail, close views were available of green-winged and blue-winged teal, a cooperative Belted Kingfisher, and a few Least Sandpipers.

Just as we were leaving the park we passed a meadow with a snag containing 6 American Kestrels. Soon they were being buzzed by a female Sharp-Shinned Hawk, which in turn was mobbed by vociferous Blue Jays and Flickers. It was mayhem for a few minutes and a few times the Sharpie took passes at Kestrels.


Species recorded and numbers seen

Snow Goose Chen caerulescens 42           

Canada Goose Branta canadensis 100        

Tundra Swan Cygnus columbianus 1              

American Wigeon Anas americana 3              

American Black Duck Anas rubripes 25           

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos +              

Blue-winged Teal Anas discors 75           

Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata 100        

Northern Pintail Anas acuta 40           

Green-winged Teal Anas crecca 75           

Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis 30           

Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps 5              

Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus 10           

Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 20           

Great Egret Ardea alba 69           

Snowy Egret Egretta thula 15           

Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura +

Osprey Pandion haliaetus 1              

Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus 6              

Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus 1              

Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii 1              

Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus 4              

American Coot Fulica americana 2              

Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola 50           

American Avocet Recurvirostra americana 100        

Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca 40           

Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes 20           

Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica 1              

Marbled Godwit Limosa fedoa 6              

Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla +

Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri +

Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla 5              

Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus 5              

Laughing Gull Leucophaeus atricilla 50           

Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis 1              

Herring Gull Larus argentatus 1              

Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia 7              

Forster's Tern Sterna forsteri 30           

Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 4              

Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon 2              

Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus 10           

American Kestrel Falco sparverius 10           

Merlin Falco columbarius 1              

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus 2              

Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe 6              

Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata 10           

American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos 10           

Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor 50           

Carolina Chickadee Poecile carolinensis 1              

Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus 1              

American Robin Turdus migratorius 5              

Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis 7              

Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 2              

Brown Thrasher Toxostoma rufum 2              

European Starling Sturnus vulgaris +

Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas 1              

Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis 5              

Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 5              

Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus +              

House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus 2              

American Goldfinch Spinus tristis 5              

House Sparrow Passer domesticus 1