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.