Sunday, August 8, 2010
Princess Lisa was one happy birder after a day of shore-birding on the Delaware shore Saturday with lucky husband and Paul Baicich. We must have seen just about every expected shorebird during our venture to Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge and Fowler Beach, except the one Lisa mentioned in her last posting. (Hint: Pectoral Sandpiper).
Our three-person birding team had Yellowlegs greater and lesser; Dowitchers long-billed and short-; Least, Semipalmated, Spotted and Stilt sandpipers; and Lisa's No. 1 favorite bird of the shores and beaches, Black Skimmer! Paul B helped us find a Western Sandpiper, and a Black Tern to boot.
It was a lovely way to spend a Saturday - large numbers of birds, and a bit of a breeze that felt wonderful after the stifling East Coast summer we have had. And good friends of course.
This sub-adult Tricolored Heron popped out of the marshes at Fowler Beach long enough to give us a nice look and pop a photo. Minutes later, Lisa saw two Clapper Rails emerge from the grass, fighting and kicking each other, before disappearing again.
All these birds, like the American Avocets and dowitchers below are in their fall migration, headed south from their breeding grounds in the far north to warmer climes. They stop to rest and fuel up on insects, small crustaceans and whatever else they can find. It can be quite a spectacle for us humans to watch!
Some of the birds we saw, like Least Tern and Black Skimmer, are threatened. It was lovely to see dozens upon dozens of Least Terns whirling, screeching and resting on the beach. One flew over us with a small fish in its mouth. We had an amazing five tern species: Black, Least, Forster's, Royal and Caspian.
A lovely day with Paul B., a good friend and one of our favorite birding companions. Then home for a much-needed nap before dinner. Sigh...