Despite the weather, Bruce Peterjohn and I
started off our Hundred on the Hook day for March at 3:00 am this morning. The first stop for the day was the Broadkill
Marsh at the end of Oyster Rocks Road to listen for rails and owls. Unfortunately the winds of March were
blowing between 10-15 mph so our efforts were futile. On our way to our next stop, the rain showers began, but stopped just
as we stopped along Broadkill Road.
While this location was somewhat sheltered from the wind, we only picked
up Great Blue Heron and Snow Goose. So
an hour into our day the score was mammals 3 (White-tailed Deer, Raccoon, and
Eastern Cottontail), birds 2.
Over the next 2.5 hours we only added Eastern Screech-Owl, Great Horned, and
Barred Owl. Finally at dawn our luck started
to change as we were just about surrounded by Brown Thrashers and American
Woodcock, and we had a singing Winter Wren nearby. Next, along the road to Turkle Pond we found 4 Eastern Phoebes
and 2 Pine Warblers, but nothing in the Pine Grove trail area. So off to the
set of woods directly behind the headquarters buildings where we found Tree
Swallow, a second Winter Wren, Gray Catbird, Fox Sparrow, and Rusty
Blackbird. The marsh area in front of
the headquarters area held about 35 Wood Ducks, 3 Blue-winged Teal, and lots of
Wilson's Snipe (they were all over the place today).
We also had White-crowned Sparrows were at the feeders.
Continuing with the land
birds we headed off to Deep Branch Road where we picked up Wild Turkey, Brown
Creeper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and Hermit Thrush. Along the road to the Prime Hook State Wildlife Area we found a
flock of 50 American Pipit and a Merlin.
The State area itself produced Cooper's Hawk, Red-shoulder Hawk, 2
White-breasted Nuthatches, and Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
At this point the rain showers began and never stopped the
rest of the day. Along Prime Hook Road
we found the rest of the expected puddle ducks, including all 3 Mergansers,
Greater Yellowlegs, Long-billed Dowitcher, many more Wilson's Snipe, and
Laughing Gull. The bay was very high
and rough so our expected supply of gulls to look over were not to be found,
but we did manage to find a Northern Gannet.
The Slaughter Beach tidal flats were next on our list were
we found a flyby Forster's Tern and Lesser Yellowlegs. The bay rewarded us with both Scaup,
Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, and Red-throated Loon. We then headed off to Fowler Beach at 11:00 am with 102 species
for the day. Fowler Beach was a bust so
we headed off to lunch.
After lunch we birded for 5 additional hours adding an additional 7 species:
American Bittern, Marsh Wren (Broadkill Road), Ross' Goose (13 Curves Road),
Sharp-shinned Hawk (Draper Road), Pileated Woodpecker (Rt 1 at Waples Mill
Pond), and Purple Martin (Headquarters).
We ended the day at the Headquarters area at 5:30 pm with a total of 108 species,
plus 4 mammals (add Red Fox) . Biggest
miss, Lesser Black-backed Gull. Not bad
for a 'day on the Hook' in the rain with the temperature at 42F. At least it didn't snow like it did on our
February HOTH day.