Delmarva Coast, February 24-28, 2014

All photos are Marshall Faintich

Walt Childs and I headed to the east and north to explore the coastal areas of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware (Delmarva). I researched birding list-servers from the beginning of the year and compiled a list target birds that included 12 potential life bird species, and 2 bird species that I had previously seen but not photographed. In addition, I wanted to see a dark morph Snow Goose (Blue Goose), a reported pair of Snowy Owls on Assateague Island, and wild ponies on Chincoteague/Assateague Islands. Walt had seen all of my target list birds, but had never been to areas on the Delaware Birding Trail and was eager to go there. I hadn't been to any of these sites except for traversing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel 40 years ago.

Our original plan was to spend the first two nights on Chincoteage Island in Virginia and the second two nights in Dover, Delaware, but we also planned to change the itinerary based on what we saw and latest birding reports. The weather forecast was for cold temperatures, brisk winds, and a chance of snow. We experienced night time low temperatures in the teens with day time highs in the 30s. And it was windy - at times extremely windy.

We ended the trip with 102 species, and some of my target list: 5 new life birds, Blue Geese, and some wild ponies, in addition to some surprises that we did not expect to see. In addition to the species highlights, I think that the sheer number of birds of various species was remarkable. There were flocks of hundreds of ducks of a single species in muliple locations. We had read reports of flocks of migrating Snow Geese numbering about 3,000. We saw large flocks at least once every day, and estimate that we saw 8,000 to 10,000 Snow Geese on this trip.

I struggled with how to best report our results and show my best photos, and decided to include some of the highlight photos with each daily report and then to add more photos at the end by species. A list of our trip birds is at the bottom of this page.

Trip Photos

February 24, 2014: Home to Chincoteague

February 25, 2014: Chincoteague to Rehobeth

February 26, 2014: Rehobeth to Dover

February 27, 2014: Dover to Chincoteague

February 28, 2014: Chincoteague to Home

Additional Photos

More photos by species; February 24-28, 2014

Trip Bird List

American Black Duck
American Crow
American Goldfinch
American Kestrel
American Oystercatcher
American Pipit
American Robin
American Wigeon
Bald Eagle
Belted Kingfisher
Black Scoter
Black Vulture
Blue Jay
Boat-tailed Grackle
Brown Creeper
Brown Pelican
Cackling Goose [Update: a Lesser Canada Goose is also a possibility]
Canada Goose
Carolina Chickadee
Carolina Wren
Clapper Rail
Common Goldeneye
Common Grackle
Common Loon
Cooper's Hawk
Dark-eyed Junco
Double-crested Cormorant
Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Towhee
Eurasian Wigeon
European Starling
Fish Crow
Forster's Tern
Great Black-backed Gull
Great Blue Heron
Great Cormorant
Great Egret
Greater Scaup
Greater Yellowlegs
Green-winged Teal
Herring Gull
Hooded Merganser
Horned Lark
House Finch
House Sparrow
Least Sandpiper
Lesser Scaup
Lesser Yellowlegs
Little Blue Heron [Update: a juvenile Snowy Egret is also a possibility]
Long-tailed Duck
Marbled Godwit
Mourning Dove
Northern Cardinal
Northern Flicker
Northern Gannet
Northern Harrier
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Pintail
Northern Shoveler
Pied-billed Grebe
Pileated Woodpecker
Purple Finch
Purple Sandpiper
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-breasted Merganser
Red-necked Grebe
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-winged Blackbird
Ring-billed Gull
Ring-necked Duck
Rock Pigeon
Ross's Goose [upate: This may be a small Snow Goose]
Ruddy Duck
Ruddy Turnstone
Savannah Sparrow
Short-billed Dowitcher
Snow Goose
Song Sparrow
Surf Scoter
Swamp Sparrow
Tree Swallow
Tufted Titmouse
Tundra Swan
Turkey Vulture
White-breasted Nuthatch
White-crowned Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Winter Wren
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-rumped Warbler

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