Bruce and I started the day at 5:00am with Bruce
tooting in his first Saw-Whet at the bridge on Broadkill Road. We then went into the headquarters area
where Bruce was able to get a Barred Owl and Screech Owl to respond to his
calls. (Note: His Barn Owl call needs
some work.) At dawn we were along the
maintenance road to get two American Woodcocks and the mimics, along with two
Ring-necked Ducks and a Wood Duck.
A quick trip to the bay yielded some Common Goldeneyes, but not much
more. On the way back to the Boardwalk
Trail at 7:40am we spotted the N. Shrike sitting on the wire along the road
into Island Farm. The Boardwalk Trail
was mostly dead, but we did pick up a Hairy Woodpecker.
Next we were onto the State Wildlife Area for A. Tree Sparrows, plus Field and
some other goodies. Followed by trips
to both Prime Hook and Folwer Beach Roads where we had the usual birds. With low tide an hour past we headed to
Island Farm to look for the salt marsh sparrows and were awarded with all 3
sparrows. Before leaving Island Farm we
picked up a lone Fox Sparrow.
For as hard as we worked we failed to hit 100 birds before lunch, as we only
had 97 birds as we left the refuge for lunch in Milton. While we were at 97 birds so early, a quick
review of the checklist indicated that the next 3 were going to have to be good
birds. Although we did know that we
still had a Clapper Rail in case things got tough.
After lunch we drove up to the Slaughter Flats where we hit the jackpot,
American Wigeon, 100+ Gadwall, Green-winged Teal, two Lesser Yellowlegs,
several Western Sandpipers, 30+ Long-billed Dowitcher, Common Loon, Ruddy Duck,
and a single canvasback. The later
three in the bay from the last public access area.
Fowler Beach then yielded a Cackling Goose and a blue-phase Ross'
Goose out in the bay, plus Marsh Wren.
Follow up trips to Prime Hook Road, the State Area, and a drive along
the road between the check station and Petersfield Ditch yielded no new birds. Feeling a little down, we headed to Oyster
Rocks to find our token Clapper Rail to get a 'good round number'. After a half-hour wait, and two minutes to
go before our 12 hour mark, Bruce spotted a large flock of small birds that
turned out to be American Pipit. This
was quickly followed a Merlin chasing a flock of Dunlin, and finally a Clapper
With the sun setting we drove off with a successful
'Hundred on the Hook' day with a total of 112 species.