It was good to get out and bird again, and that little romp started an inkling in me to get out more. So by the time evening rolled around I had checked the tide table for the Delaware River and found that low tide was at 6:30PM. I figured if it was too hot I could sit in the car with the air conditioning running and still watch over the river.
I arrived at 5:45PM and there was already a huge mud flat in the middle of the Delaware. However, much to my dismay, people with boats were parked all around the flats jumping and swimming in the river. I figured that can't be good, but when I looked out there was a huge flock of gulls on the mud flat. So I got the scope on the gulls and started scanning. Going left to right I was picking out mostly Ring-billed Gulls, then one Great Black-backed Gull, three Caspian Terns, then some Laughing Gulls and finally a Forster's Tern. That was the end of the flock. Nothing spectacular, but I always enjoy seeing Caspian Terns.
So I continued to scan to the right figuring I would check out the island near the trees to see if any Wild Turkeys were walking around. Before I got to the island I was stopped by a long legged shorebird of considerable size. It stood at least as tall as the Ring-billed Gulls but it had it's head tucked in and I was looking into some mean sun glare. I guessed that it might be an Avocet but then it made a quick lift of its head and I thought I saw a down curved bill of a Glossy Ibis. You have to realize that this bird and the flats are about a 1/4 mile offshore.
So I kept watching the bird and I saw a long white patch on the shoulder of the bird and started thinking American Avocet. The viewing angle was really poor so I drove farther down the road to close the distance and to get a better angle, hoping the bird wouldn't fly away before I got a better look. Much better. And better yet, the bird started walking around and feeding. I could see clearly the black and white body and the rufous colored head and neck along with the upturned bill. It was my first ever American Avocet in Delaware County. I took a few record shots with my little camera but nothing to brag about. What an exciting way to finish the day.
|First American Avocet in Delco since 1969 (60x thru Telescope)|
|A little perspective on distance to mud flat. (20x)|