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.
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.
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.
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.
Tags: Delmarva Peninsula, Royal Tern, Chincoteague VA, Cattle Egret