Bruce Peterjohn and I started our Hundred on the
Hook day for April at 2:30 am this morning with a slight breeze blowing. The first stop for the day was the Broadkill
Marsh at the end of Oyster Rocks Road where our first bird was a calling
Seaside Sparrow. Soon afterwards a
Whip-poor-will started to call, followed immediately by several Clapper
Rails. We then moved north to Broadkill
Road, where the wind began to pick up, but it did not stop us from hearing,
Virginia Rail, Sora, and two Barn Owls calling in the marsh. We finished out the rest of the night-time
birding with Great-horned Owl, Barred Owl and Chuck-will's Widow calling near
the entrance gate. By now the winds
were beginning to build to 10-15 mph.
Our daylight birding began at the Headquarter's Area, where we had a flyover
Common Nighthawk as well as several Common Loons. Other highlights included, 8 Little Blue Herons at the end of the
Dike Trail, White-crowned Sparrows at the garden area, and Yellow,
Yellow-throated, Pine, and Prothonotary Warbler, Northern Waterthrush and
Yellow-breasted Chat. On the way to the
Pine Grove Trail we picked up a Blue-winged Warbler at the intersection of the
entrance road and then road to Turkle pond.
At the cul-de-sac at the start of the Trail we found an early Eastern
Wood-Pewee and Black-and-White Warbler.
Next on the agenda was Deep Branch Road which yielded a calling Great
Crested Flycatcher and Grasshopper Sparrow.
Also along Deep Branch Road we spotted at least 6 Great Blue Herons
gathering nest materials in the fields and then flying away into the pine along
the road with the material. After Deep Branch we headed to the State Wildlife
Area to conclude our morning songbird agenda, with the highlights being
Pileated Woodpecker, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Northern Parula and Scarlet
After the State Area we birded Prime Hook Road, the
Slaughter Beach Tidal Flats, and the Bay at the southern end of Slaugher
Beach. Hightlights for this portion of
the day included Semipalmated Plover along Prime Hook Road, and a Cooper's Hawk
chasing a Northern Harrier above the tidal flats. We left the Slaughter Beach area at 11:30 am to head for lunch
with 120 species for the day.
After lunch the winds picked up to 15-25 mph, which made birding
difficult. We birded for 6 additional
hours adding an additional 8 species: Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Black-necked
Stilt, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Meadowlark, and Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow
along Broadkill Road, and Brown Thrasher and a single female Black Scoter at
Prime Hook Beach.
We ended the day at Oyster Rocks at 6:00 pm with a total of 128 species. Biggest misses, American Woodcock and
Eastern Screech-Owl. This outing
brought our cumulative 'Hundred on the Hook Day' total for the year to 183