Friday, March 8, 2013

Delaware, March 6

I stayed mid-state for the morning due to concerns with the coastal winter storm.  First stop, Bombay Hook NWR for potential new birds Barred Owl, over-wintering Black-necked Stilt and American Pipit.  Unfortunately, conditions for birding were horrible with high wind and driving rain.  I saw the usual waterfowl, American Coot (100), Northern Shoveler (300), Northern Pintail (20), Gadwall (40), Green-winged Teal (50), Mallard (40), Black Duck (30), Tundra Swans (20), Canada Geese (50), Ruddy Duck (10), Hooded Merganser (6) and two Common Merganser (male plus female).  Waterfowl were hunkered down to stay out of the wind.  I probably missed seeing many.  There were large numbers of Dunlin in Raymond Pool in widely scattered flocks.  I did not find the pipits where they had been reported, because the high wind kept bird activity low and vastly decreased the possibility of hearing bird calls, which is important for finding pipits.  Outside the refuge along Route 9 near the turn on to Whitehall to get to the refuge, there were very large flocks, estimated to be several thousand, of Snow Geese.  I found at least one Ross's Goose, but could not get a photo.  The birds move away from the road when a vehicle stops.  I drove down to Little Creek Wildlife Area, hoping to perhaps catch a glimpse of Clapper Rail along the road out to the bay.  I was able to drive almost to the bay until water over the road caused me to turn around and found no rail.  In the early afternoon, I drove down to the Rehoboth Beach area and discovered that Route 1 to Indian River Inlet was closed.  Later, I heard on the radio that water had washed across Route 1 at the approach to the bridge, causing the shut-down.  The wind was really fierce.  I drove to Cape Henlopen State Park and drove out to Herring Point to look at the ocean.  The wind was less fierce at first due to the trees as I drove to Herring Point.  I was able to get out of the car briefly to look at the ocean, just in case there might be storm driven birds visible.  However, conditions were impossible.  I left the area and drove back to Dover where conditions had improved vastly in comparison to the morning.  I drove to Bombay Hook NWR again to try for Barred Owl at Finis Pool but found only a fly-by non-adult Bald Eagle.  I stopped at the visitor center intending to wait until dusk for the Barn Owls to come out and the woodcock display.  However, the wind was still too strong.  I headed back to Dover to spend the night and monitor the storm.    The Bay Bridge to Annapolis was also closed down, which eliminated driving back home to Cincinnati by that convenient route, if I decided to cancel the rest of this eastern trip.  No new birds to report.     

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