|Upland Sandpiper at Cartanza|
Sunday I birded around Delaware with Chad Kauffman and Al Guarente, enjoying some of Delaware's fine late summer birding. We found 118 species on our tour that took us from Ashland Nature Center south to Cape Henlopen. Here are the highlights:
Pre-dawn at Thousand Acre Marsh we heard a Least Bittern calling. No rails heard, but plenty of buzzing mosquitoes. Near the Smyrna Prison on Paddock Road, Al's ears picked out a calling Grasshopper Sparrow along with singing Horned Larks. At Taylor's Gut we had a flyover Dickcissel (calling) along with a few Bobolinks. At Bombay Hook there was a nice variety of early waterfowl including Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, and Ruddy Duck. Northern Harrier, Northern Bobwhite, and Little Blue Heron are other notables at Bombay today.
While sitting at Port Mahon in a deluge, Al picked out a Wilson's Storm-Petrel skimming along the gray chop of the Delaware Bay. And the birds of the day must be the Upland Sandpipers that Chad spotted along Cartanza Road just before the lashing rain and lightning rolled over us. Their beady black eyes just barely poked above the top of the furrow in the potato field. We finished the day with 21 species of shorebirds, a nice surprise given the huge shift in habitat resulting from the heavy rains of the past week.
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