Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Birding the Delmarva Peninsula area Day III...

Day three arrived with the early morning sounds of Clapper Rails and Carolina Chickadees outside my hotel room. By 6:00 a.m. I was geared up and ready for a full day of birding and so was Shai, Pat and Gerta. We quickly assembled and decided that the hotel’s weak coffee was not enough of a caffeine intake and so we stopped for additional coffee. Then it was onto Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

Toms Cove.

The auto loop was not open so we drove out to the beach. Along the way we heard several Brown-headed Nuthatches with their toy like squeaking sounds. At the beach we had a small amount of shorebirds mulling around an area named “Toms Cove”. Pat, Gerta and I scanned the shorebirds while Shai opted for a seawatch.

Clapper Rail.

There was not a lot of diversity in the shorebirds with the majority being Semipalmated Sandpipers; however, we did have a couple of Piping Plovers, which is always neat to see. Shai did not have much action on his sea watch – though our best bird at that spot in the morning came from that route. A Brown Pelican, spotted by Pat as it flew by. After a while we headed back out and birded along the drive. At one of our stops, we picked up a Clapper Rail that decided no one could see it all the way out in the marsh and ventured out from cover; minutes later, we found our first Whimbrel. Later on, we added more, picking up about 10-12 Whimbrels that were feeding in one of the marshes. Shai and I continued birding on foot, working our way back out towards the Chincoteague bridge while Pat and Gerta headed off to bird the woodland trail and to look at “ponies”. I became too engrossed with watching Terns and missed out on what would have been a life Turtle for me. Pat found a turtle that was later identified by Shai as a Mud Turtle. By then, we were ready for a break and so we reconvened at the hotel, grabbed a bite and prepared for the afternoon auto loop ride. The auto loop is accessible by car from 3:00 p.m. and so it was around that time that we entered the loop.

Cattle Egret.

It was a nice ride and we had good looks at Blue Winged Teals, Royal Terns, Gull-billed Terns, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Cattle Egrets and Short-billed Dowitchers. We sifted through the shorebirds looking for White-rumped Sandpipers, but did not find any.

Royal Terns.

We then tried the beach again before calling it a day and with the change in tide had more terns at Tom’s Cove that included Royal and Common Terns. We closed the day with a nice dinner and planned for day IV. We were excited about our fourth day as it was the day we were expecting our friend Andy Balldeli to join us.

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