Saturday, July 14, 2007

Ferry Trip to Delaware + Ruff et. al. at Bombay Hook NWR

In prep for CMBO's coming workshop at Bombay Hook (there's still room - click on Programs & Events and then on School of Birding for more info, or call 609.861.0700 to sign up), I rode the Cape May-Lewes Ferry early this morning and drove up to Bombay Hook to scout things out.

I was hoping for pelagic species from the ferry, but the best I could do were 4 Wilson's Storm-petrels. A few shearwaters have been around Cape May Point, but the wind this morning was very calm, not the sort of conditions to entice dynamic-soaring tubenoses to move around.

Bombay Hook NWR was terrific as always. It's a delight to climb up the observation toward at Raymond Pool and find dozens of American Avocets and Black-necked Stilts waiting. At Tyalor's Gut (Woodland Beach Wildlife Refuge), a Ruff had been discovered by other birders (thanks go out to Sandra Keller for letting me in on it), and the flocks of dowitchers, yellowlegs, Semi-palmated Sandpipers and Least Sandpipers were well-laced with Western Sandpipers. The Westerns are easy to pick out at this time of year, since they still are in good plumage, sporting many rufous-edged scapulars and plenty of spots below. I suspect most of the Westerns I saw were females, typical early in the season, since most had bills at the long end of the spectrum.

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