Date: 3/28/18 7:03 am
From: Bill Hohenstein via va-bird <va-bird...>
Subject: [Va-bird] Fw: Chincoteague/Willis WHarf early April RFI

Hi Shea:

Good questions. I am visiting Chincoteague this week and can give give you an update on birding conditions. You should be able to find all of your target birds (with the possible exception of Western Sandpiper) with relative ease. Take Beach Road all the way to the beach and park in the North Parking lot -- it is the only one open this week.

At the end of the North parking lot are sand flats that are good for piping plover. You may also see Marbled Godwit in Swan's Cove from this spot. The flats on the edge of Swan's cove water line are also a possible spot for Western Sandpiper -- I have not seen any of the three peeps yet this week (Semi-palm. Least and western), but they should be showing up soon. Westerns are by far the least common in migration, but are the most likely to be around in the winter so look around. I have more luck with them in the fall. They will be the ones with the long droopy bills. Lots of Dunlin are around -- they also have droopy bills so look carefully through them. There is an adult Lesser Black Backed Gull hanging out with the Herring gulls here.

Next, I would walk south through and past the area where they are working on the south lots. Walking along the Tom's Cove side can be productive. There are often sandpipers feeding in the marshes along the edge of Tom's cove. This is a good spot for Black Bellied Plovers. Lots of willets are here and dunlin. You should also see at least a few Marbled Godwit here. Western Sandpipers are possible here as well -- right on the water's edge or mixed in with the Dunlin. Piping Plovers will be a bit higher up into the sand flats. This spot is also great for Ipswich Savannah Sparrows and they should still be around the first week in April. They will appear as a very large and light colored savannah sparrow.

Other notables:

There are good numbers of Nelson's Sparrows along the causeway between the McDonalds and the refuge entrance. Dick Rowe and I found some in on the south side of the road just past the circle.

Lots of Gannets out on the ocean, Black and Surf Scoters are around, as well as Red Breasted Mergansers, common and red throated loons, horned Grebes, and Bonaparte's Gulls. Shorebird migration has not really kicked in yet. Greater and probable lesser yellowlegs, oystercatchers were the only other shorebirds I've seen. Clapper Rails are pretty quiet -- but that will change.

Herring Gulls have started their breeding colony along the causeway to the mainland. They set up their colony on the outskirts of what they anticipate will be a much larger Laughing Gull colony. Only a few laughing gulls are here -- that too will change soon. No Black Necked Stilts yet - but you should check there. They arrive just about now.

I have not been to Willis Wharf - so others can weigh in there. I'd be interested in hearing -- to see if it is worth a trip down.

Overall, the numbers and diversity are a bit low for what I'd expect this time of year, but overall there are interesting things to see.


From: va-bird <va-bird-bounces+elliety=<> on behalf of Shea Tiller via va-bird <va-bird...>
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2018 8:03 AM
Subject: [Va-bird] Chincoteague/Willis WHarf early April RFI

Hi, all.

I'm planning on a trip to Chincoteague NWR at the end of the first week of
April this year, and as I've never been to Chincoteague before, I figured
I'd ask for some advice from people who have been there.

My main targets are in order of priority, piping plover, marbled godwit,
western sandpiper, and black-bellied plover. I can see some spots for those
on eBird, but could anyone give me tips on finding these there? I'm looking
to find out the specific locations on the refuge that these are most
commonly seen, what the access for those locations is (e.g. if walking, how
much?), and what tide would be best for each spot. I'd also like to know
which spots would require a scope.

Lastly, I am looking to get a time estimate of how many hours I would need
to spend there to see these target birds so I can see how much other time I
would have left for other spots on my trip.

If I have time, I'm planning on checking Willis Wharf (I know I'd need a
scope there). What would be the best tide for finding godwits there?

Thanks and great birding!

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