Brooklyn Bird Club
Long Pond Greenbelt
|Date: May 15-17, 2009
Reported by: Joe Giunta
The Delmarva (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) peninsula is located about 200 miles south of New York City. It is a must
birding destination for any serious birder. This year our group of eight birders started the trip at 9am on Friday May 15. We
took the van from the Audubon office and after about three hours of driving, with one break, we arrived at our first birding
venue, Bombay Hook NWR. Funny as this may seem, our first task was to have lunch. The birds kept interfering. We almost
immediately saw a Blue Grosbeak, one of the key birds of our trip. Bluebirds and Indigo Buntings were also seen. There is
nothing like seeing all these “birds of blue”. Next was a very cooperative Orchard Oriole. We got in the van and rode the
auto loop making several stops. One of the best stops was when we easily saw a beautiful Marsh Wren. The bird was singing
and did a display flight. At another great stop we saw several Black-necked Stilts. A surprise was an Eastern Screech Owl
which peeked out of a wood duck nesting box. Before we left this venue we had an adult Bald Eagle fly over.
Our next stop was probably our most impressive. We drove about 10 miles until we reached Little Creek WMA, the Port
Mahon entrance. The beach was moving with shore birds. A few thousand Dunlin, Ruddy Turnstones, and Semipalmated
Sandpipers were seen very closely, within 30 feet. Also in this group were three Red Knots. All these birds were feeding on
the eggs of Horseshoe crabs. It was a sight none of us will ever forget. We continued on our way to Salisbury where we had
dinner and checked into our hotel, Microtel Inn and Suites. I might say that this hotel was excellent and we would
definitely stay there again.
On the next day, Saturday May 16, we started with an excellent enhanced continental breakfast at the hotel. This enabled
us to get an early start and head towards our first venue of the day, Whaleyville, the Pocomo swamp. As soon as we got out of
the van at Whaleyville we heard the Worm-eating Warbler singing. The bird was a key bird of our trip and seen by
everyone. Next, another key bird of the trip was seen; a lovely male Prothonotary Warbler, singing and displaying, was
right next to us. He must have been nesting real close. The Prothonotary Warbler would become so common that someone
would say “It’s just another Prothonotary”. At this venue we saw/heard Acadian Flycatcher, Yellow-billed Cuckoo and
Scarlet Tanager. At one point while we were looking at a Yellow-throated Vireo someone was to say “the problem with the
birds is that they are so close I can’t use my binoculars”. As we were leaving we tried an area that looked promising for
Prairie Warbler but instead we found and clearly saw a Blue Grosbeak and a fabulous Red-headed Woodpecker.
We picked up lunch and made our way to the second Saturday venue which was Assateague Island, the north end. We went
to the woodland trail where we almost immediately saw and heard the Yellow-throated Warbler, another key bird of the
trip. We also had Pine Warbler and a quick view of a Clapper Rail. We would see this bird much better the next day. On the
marsh trail we had binocular views of several of the ‘Ponies of Assateague’. We drove about one half hour until we came to
the beautiful Nassawango Creek. Next to the creek in a grassland area we saw a Bluebird Trail with many boxes and a few
Bluebirds. Also present were a few Purple Martin houses with many Purple Martins flying around. We parked the van and
then had one of the most memorable moments of the trip. A beautiful male Summer Tanager was right in front of us. With
the male was an equally beautiful female. To top off the experience was a singing Scarlet Tanager about 20 feet away. We
walked the mile woodland/swamp trail looking for the Swainson’s Warbler but we had to be satisfied with more
Prothonotary Warblers and a few Louisiana Waterthrushes. As we were just about to leave we picked up another Red-
headed Woodpecker. We had dinner at a local restaurant and prepared for our next day.
On Sunday we again had breakfast at the hotel and left early so that we could catch the ferry to Cape May, NJ. The weather
turned on us and we picked up some showers, the first rain that we had experienced. The ferry ride was relatively smooth
with our group seeing many dolphins and a few Northern Gannets along the one hour and twenty minute ferry ride. We set
the Tom-Tom for Reeds Beach hoping to see more shorebirds. When we arrived at Reeds Beach the rain become more
intense and scanning the beach from the van produced little in the way of bird life. We decided to have lunch before we
moved on. It was a good decision as the rain let up and we were on our way to the last venue of the trip, Brigantine NWR.
As soon as we got to Brigantine we saw the rarest bird of the trip, a White-faced Ibis. We all had excellent looks, seeing the
bird first through our scopes and then through our binoculars and finally with just our eyes. It was a ‘lifer’ for more than
half of our group. We drove the auto trail making several stops along the way. Some of the excellent birds that we saw were:
Whimbrel, Clapper Rail (excellent view), both Seaside and Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrows, and many Gull-billed Terns.
On our way out the last bird that we saw was another Eastern Bluebird. Altogether the group saw 125 species and almost all
with excellent quality views. We arrived back at the Audubon office a little before 8pm.
SPECIES SEEN ~ DELMARVA
Great Blue Heron
American Black Duck
Great Black-backed Gull
Great Crested Flycatcher
Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow
Species seen - 125