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Friday, January 6, 2012

New's Year Day Field Trip with BCDC

Snow Buntings at Indian River Inlet
     What a good day to go birding. The weather was great. Sunny with just a little chill in the air to remind us that winter is here. We started as usual with a stop at Port Mahon Rd and quickly found a Short-eared Owl and heard a Great Horned Owl hooting. I didn't want to waste too much time here so we headed down to Fowlers Beach which is the northern part of Prime Hook Refuge. We were able to get Dunlins, Black-bellied Plovers, Greater Scaups, Red-throated Loon, Bald Eagles and about 50,000 Snow Geese.
A Small Part of 50,000 Snow Geese
      Our next stop was Indian River inlet. This is the stop that I look forward to the most. Although we came up short here on rarities we did have lots of Bonaparte's Gull, Boat-tailed Grackles, Ruddy Turnstones, Sanderlings, Purple Sandpipers and Surf Scoters. At Silver Lake we found the usual 1000 Canvasbacks and two Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
Canvasback at Silver Lake

      This year we added 11 new species that we have never seen on this trip before. I think that is quite remarkable. One of those birds was at the Cape Henlopen nature center. We stopped there to look for Brown-headed Nuthatch which we eventually did find along with about 100 Snow Bunting across the street in the field.

       While searching for the nuthatch we spotted a white bird in the bush behind the feeder. It turned out to be a House Finch that was almost pure white. But before we saw the white House Finch one of the first birds that appeared at the feeder was a Dickcissel. This was probably the best of the new birds added this year and is pictured below. By the way all photos were taken by Nick & Sharon Pulcinella.
        After Cape Henlopen we went up to Broadkill Beach and found several more thousand Snow Geese and finally found a Ross's Goose among that flock. We could not find a Greater White-fronted Goose that was suppose to be in the vicinity. On Prime Hook Rd we added more new birds never seen on this trip before. We had American Avocets, Dowitchers and two male Eurasian Wigeons. We ended the trip with 82 species making our twelve year average 80.3 species, so we finished a little above average.We had thirteen participants this year.  

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