Date: 1/12/20 7:21 am From: Frank Rohrbacher <0000007c6769d2e2-dmarc-request...> Subject: [de-birds] Results of 2020 DOS Headstart Field Trip
On January 11 at 7:30 AM, eight fearless birders met at the Park & Ride in Middletown and drove south to Cods/Thirteen Curves/Draper Roads with thoughts of 60,000 Snow Geese and one Pink-footed Goose on our minds. We arrive and there were absolutely no Snow Geese on the ground anywhere and the few that flying were heading due west. Possibly the high temperature (74 F high) or high winds (25-30 mph) was a factor in the geese usual protocol.
On to Cape Henlopen SP, where we had Brown-headed Nuthatch, at the feeder, and great looks at a male White-winged Scoter and a Horned Grebe at the point. At Silver Lake we added 200 Canvasbacks and Hooded Merganser. At the Burtons Island Causeway, we got Red-breasted Merganser, hundreds of Brant and two Black-crowned Night-Herons. At Indian River Inlet, we quickly found the Common Eider, and Mike Smith found a Razorbill. Both Surf and Black Scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, a large flock Bonaparte's Gulls, both loons and Northern Gannets but no Purple Sandpipers or Great Cormorants were present.
Then, we started north with renewed interest, in 60,000 Snow Geese and one Pink-footed Goose. Arriving at Draper Road, we faced 3000 Snow Geese, which we quickly determined had no unusual geese. When these geese headed north we decided to look for a dark phase Rough-legged Hawk reported at Fowler Beach. As we approached Fowlers Beach, we saw that the main flock of geese that we were looking for stream south along the beach and dropping into the bay. We hiked out to the the beach where the snows were the split into three large rafts. The closest was a group that was stretched south along Fowler Beach for about one quarter of a mile along the shore line and about a 100 feet deep. We walked the entire back and forth without seeing our target bird. We gave up with only one Black-bellied Plover and 5-6 Savannah Sparrows including one Ipswich Savannah Sparrow to add to the list..
We then went to Port Mahon Road where we stopped at the impoundment where duck hunters put their boats in, which is on the right, directly across from the oil storage tanks, to get out of the wind. As the dark descended, two different American Bitterns flew up and two Great Egrets flew to roost.
Frank RohrbacherWilmington, Delaware