Delmarva Coast, February 27, 2014

Dover to Chincoteague

All photos are Marshall Faintich

Bombay Hook NWR, Delaware

It was very cold when Walt and I arrived at Bombay Hook NWR, the best-known of the 14 Delaware Birding Trail sites. We took the long auto tour, stopping at various marked tour spots, walking some of the trails, and climbing one of the observation towers. At least the sun was shining.

We saw a small flock of Snow Geese overhead, and there was a flock of Tundra Swans on one of the frozen lakes. Near the swans were some sleeping Canada Geese and Northern Pintails, and a Ross's Goose was easily seen [upate: This may be a small Snow Goose]. We spotted another flock of Tundra Swans in one of the fields.

Snow Geese

Tundra Swans

Tundra Swans

Ross's Goose [upate: This may be a small Snow Goose]

Woodland birds included Winter and Carolina Wrens, a few woodpeckers, some sparrows, and a few others.

Juvenile White-crowned Sparrow

We saw a flock of Northern Pintails that was absolutely amazing. With my 400mm camera lens, I could capture only about 1/3 of the line of Pintails, and a few minutes later, the entire flock took off.

Northern Pintails

Little Creek Wildlife Area, Delaware

Our last stop along the Delaware Birding Trail was the Little Creek Wildlife Area. There were two recommended entrances, and the best bird we saw there was along the highway between the these two roads. We saw some large flocks of ducks in the wildlife area, mostly American Wigeons, but also a variety of other species.

Mostly American Wigeons

Hooded Merganser

A Northern Harrier and a Red-tailed Hawk were cruising one of the fields.

Northern Harrier and Red-tailed Hawk

As we drove the highway between the two entrances to the widlife area, I saw a white bird at the edge of a creek. After just returning from a month in Florida, I knew immediately what it was, but didn't expect to see one in Delaware during the winter - a juvenile Little Blue Heron. We stopped the car, and as I slowly got to the bridge from around a bush, the heron flew, but I was able to get off a couple of shots. [Update: a juvenile Snowy Egret is also a possibility]

Juvenile Little Blue Heron [Update: a juvenile Snowy Egret is also a possibility]

Indian River Inlet, Delaware

Walt and I stopped at the Indian River Inlet on the way back to Chincoteague. Although it was sunny, the wind was so strong that it was difficult to stand in it. Walt took his spotting scope from the car, but it was too windy to open it, and I had a hard time keeping my camera steady on a monopod. The wind chill was downright nasty.

We saw lots and lots of Black and Surf Scoters, even more Long-tailed Ducks than earlier in the week, a Common Loon, a Purple Sandpiper, a pair of Red-necked Grebes, and a few other species of ducks and gulls.

Black and Surf Scoters

Black Scoters

Surf Scoters

Long-tailed Ducks

Common Loon

Red-necked Grebe

Purple Sandpiper

Chincoteague and Assateague Islands, Virginia

As we approached Chincoteague, the tide was low, and once again, we saw American Oystercatchers. We went directly across the bridge to Assateague, and the setting sunlight colored the area in a soft, golden glow.

American Oystercatcher

Northern Pintail

Northern Pintails

Northern Pintails

Northern Pintail

Herring Gull

Click here to go the day #5 report and photos: Chincoteague to Home.

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