Bruce Peterjohn and I started our Hundred
on the Hook day for October at 5:00 am this morning with a healthy breeze
blowing, a bright moon, and a whole lot fewer mosquitoes than our last
outing. We started our night birding at
Petersfield Ditch on Broadkill Road, with calling Snow and Canada Geese. Not expecting much more, we moved up to the
entrance gate to listen for owls and after about a half hour we were rewarded
with a Great-horned, Barred and Eastern Screech Owls. We then returned to Broadkill Road to watch the sun come up near
Petersfield Ditch and picked up American Bittern, Black-crowned Night-Heron,
good numbers of American Wigeon, and most of the other expected puddle
With the sun starting to rise we headed into the Headquarter's Area. On the
way to the Boardwalk Trail we picked up Cooper's Hawk, Merlin and Northern
Parula. The Boardwalk Trail had a few
migrants with the following highlights: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Eastern
Wood-Pewee, Eastern Phoebe, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Black-throated Blue and
Yellow-rumped Warbler, American Redstart, and White-throated Sparrow. We then made a brief visit to the Pine Grove
Trail area where we found a family of Wild Turkeys, and a small flock of birds
that contained, Pine and Black-and-White Warblers, Brown Creeper and
Golden-crowned Kinglets. On our way to
the State Wildlife Area we stopped along Deep Branch Road and picked up some
Black Vultures and a Peregrine Falcon.
The State Area was for the most part quite, but we did pick up a
The marsh area of Prime Hook Road was next and as we entered the marsh we had
an adult Bald Eagle with good numbers of Snow and Canada Geese below it. A search through the Snow Geese yielded a
single Cackling Goose. Several
shorebirds where present near the curve pulloff, including Pectoral Sandpiper,
Dunlin, Stilt Sandpiper, and Long-billed Dowitchers. Also present was a single Little Blue Heron. Prime Hook Beach itself yielded some
Sanderlings and Semipalmated Plovers.
On the drive north on Front Street, Bruce briefly spotted an
Orange-crowned Warbler. On the way to
Fowler Beach we picked up a Sharp-shinned Hawk along Cods Road and then stopped
along Fowler Beach Road to check the recently planted farmland for
shorebirds. The lower portion of the
field was recently floaded and held good numbers of shorebirds, including both
Yellowlegs, Semipalmated, Western, Least, Pectoral, and Stilt Sandpipers, along
with both Dowitchers. Fowler Beach was
rather quite yielding only a single Black-bellied Plover. With the time
approaching 1:00 pm, we decided to head off to the Milton for lunch with a
lunch-time total of 105 species.
After picking up lunch we headed to Oyster Rocks to enjoy our lunch while
waiting for a Clapper Rail to call. We
weren't disappointed as soon after we arrived one called. We also picked up a few Seaside Sparrows at
the edge of the marsh while we were there.
Next on the agenda was Broadkill Beach.
Along the way we picked up a Yellow-billed Cuckoo sitting on the wires
along Broadkill Road. Not much was in
the marsh and impoundment, but we did locate a few Ruddy Ducks. A scan of the bay yielded no new birds so we
started our way west and picked up a small group of sparrows that contained
several White-crowned Sparrows and a Palm Warbler. With the recent high tides the salt marsh sparrows were at the
edges of the marsh which helped us find both Nelson's and Saltmarsh
Sharp-tailed Sparrows. On the way
further west, just before the golf course, we found two Solitary Sandpipers
feeding in the front lawn of a home.
At this point were were down on two 'All Trip' birds, Pileated Woodpecker and Rock Pigeon, so our
efforts turned on finding these two species.
Our luck turned our way quickly as Bruce spotted two Rock Pigeons flying
south along Route 1. A drive along Deep
Branch Road failed to yield our woodpecker, but it did yield a small group of
Chipping Sparrows. So off we went for a
return trip to the State Wildlife Area where we were immediately rewarded with
a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers flying directly over our heads. With a half hour remaining before 5:00pm, we
decided to make a quick run down to Prime Hook Beach to look over the flats at
low tide. Along the way we picked up a
pair of Fish Crows and a Common Moorhen (at the curve pulloff). We ended the day at 5:00 pm with 124 species
for the day scanning the bay, picking up a Common Loon and a Surf Scoter. Biggest misses were Killdeer (second month
in a row) and Ruddy Turnstone.
This outing brought our cumulative 'Hundred on the Hook Day' total for the
year to 241 species. We added 4 new
species to our list today (Peregrine Falcon, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker,
Orange-crowned and Palm Warbler). For
the first time this year we held steady on the 'All Trip' list at 40 species.