Delaware Bay Final Trip Report

May 25-27, 2018       

Trip Leaders: Ray Smith & Sonia Santa Anna

At about 3 p.m. Friday we arrived at Cape Henlopen State Park, where we walked the beach along the bay. Officials had roped off part of the beach, excluding people for the protection of endangered Least Terns and Piping Plovers nesting there along with threatened Oyster Catchers. Using scopes, we saw Piping Plovers, Oyster Catchers, many Laughing Gulls, and various shorebird species.

We then drove to the park Nature Center, where we searched nearby woods and found Pine Warblers and Brown-Headed Nuthatches but no Red-Breasted Nuthatches, despite looking for them.

We returned to the Beacon Motel in Lewes, Delaware, and after dinner watched a video on Shorebirds.

Saturday morning we traveled in a six-car caravan to Big Stone Beach Road, where we searched for Passerines and other woodland birds. Then we went directly to the Dupont Nature Center at Mispillion Lighthouse to witness thousands of shorebirds feasting on Horseshoe Crab eggs. The renovated center featured a large, live, web cam that showed close-up video of birds, including Semi-palmated Sandpipers, many Laughing Gulls, and about 2,000 Red Knots. As we left Dupont, Sonia spotted a Saltmarsh Sparrow in a little drainage ditch.

After lunch at Meding’s Seafood, we went to Prime Hook Beach Road for sightings of Black-bellied Plovers, Least Terns, Skimmers, and numerous other shorebirds. A visit to Broad Kill Beach Road turned up few birds, but we had better luck at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, where we had good sightings of Grasshopper Sparrows and Blue Grossbeaks.

Sunday morning we drove north to Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, where we spotted Marsh Wrens and Seaside Sparrows on the marsh walk.

We also had great looks at two Yellow-Crowned Night Herons. As we drove around the refuge further, we saw Black-Necked Stilts, Black-Crowned Night Herons, many other shore birds, and two Mute Swans.

The bird list for the trip can be found here.