Bruce Peterjohn and I started our Hundred on the
Hook day for July at 2:15 am this morning with a slight breeze blowing, a bit
of fog, the humidity close to 100%, and more than half the moon showing. We started our night birding along Broadkill
Road at Petersfield Ditch with our first bird being a Marsh Wren followed by a
long wait until we heard our next bird, a Great Blue Heron. With the moon shining bright, we struck out on
the rails, so we headed back the the entrance road to listen for Chucks and
owls. We weren't dissapointed as we
picked up Chuck-will's Widow, and both Eastern Screech-Owl and Barred Owl
responded to Bruce's calls. Missing
Whip-poor-wills earlier in the morning we headed back along Broadkill Road, but
struck out again. Although we did pick
up a young Great-horned Owl calling as a concilation prize.
With the sun beginning to rise, we decided to change our normal Hundred on the
Hook agenda and head up to Prime Hook Road to watch the sun rise instead of
staying along Broadkill Road. (The main
objective of this change was to maximize our sondbird time in the State
Wildlife Area.) Prime Hook Road didn't
dissapoint as we picked up Pied-billed Grebe, Least Bittern, Common Moorhen (9
total), Killdeer, Short-billed Dowitcher, and Solitary Sandpiper at the 'curve'
pulloff. Before starting our songbird
agenda we hit Prime Hook Beach, which yielded Sanderling and Semipalmated
Sandpipers, along with the usual gulls.
In the State Wildlife Area, we picked up most of the common songbirds,
including Pileated Woodpecker, Acadian Flycatcher, and Ovenbird.
We then moved onto Deep Branch Road where we picked up Wild Turkey,
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and a Grasshopper Sparrow. The Pine Grove Trail was next, where we picked up a Pine Warbler
and a Prothonatary Warbler near the observation platform. With the mosquitoes and flies driving us
nuts we headed off to the Boardwalk Trail around 8:00am, just as the songbirds
began to quite down. The Boardwalk
Trail yielded no new birds.
With the songbird agenda finished for
the day we then worked our way to Broadkill Beach. Along the way we picked up a pair of Northern Pintails (they have
been present since May), Semipalmated Plover, Spotted Sandpiper, Least Terns,
and Bank Swallows. At Broadkill Beach
we picked up a Wilson's Storm-Petrel.
Since we were already at the Broadkill Mall, we decided to have an early
lunch at 10:45 am with 107 species for the day.
After lunch we headed north to Fowler Beach, picking up Rough-winged Swallow
along Cods Road where it crosses Slaugher Creek. At Fowler Beach we were rewarded with great looks at Western,
Pectoral, and Stilt Sandpipers. While
looking over the shorebirds, Bruce picked up a Sedge Wren calling. While listening for this bird, we were
rewarded with a Norther Harrier flying over the marsh. The Slaughter Beach Tidal Flats were next on
the agenda, where we picked up Cooper's Hawk, Black-bellied Plover, Caspian
Tern, and Black Skimmers.
With 117 species for the day, and just
about at our limit for the day, we headed off to Oyster Rocks to try and pick
up Clapper Rail and Willet. Along the
way we picked a Horned Lark in the fields along Prime Hook Road. Once at Oyster Rocks, Bruce and I
immediately noticed an interesting bird across the Broadkill River. Bruce then was able to identify the bird as
an immature White Ibis. I immediately
set up my tripod and camera and snapped off a few distant shots (~200). I have since published a few of these shots
on my website. Besides the White Ibis,
there were also several Willets present to round off our list at a nice even
120 species for the day. Unfortunately
we weren't finished as a Clapper Rail began to call just as I was putting away
my tripod and camera. With the approval of the Clapper Rails we ended our day
at 2:00 pm with a total of 121 species.
Biggest misses were Bald Eagle, Whip-poor-will, and Hairy
This outing brought our cumulative 'Hundred on the Hook Day' total for the
year to 226 species. While we added 7
new species to our list today (Wilson's Storm-Petrel, Least Bittern, White
Ibis, Stilt Sandpiper, Caspian Tern, Rough-winged Swallow, and Sedge Wren) we
dropped Bald Eagle, Dunlin, and Hairy Woodpecker from our 'All Trip' list,
bringing it's total down to 46 species.