1. Middle Run Natural Area
2. Charles Price Memorial Park
3. Levels Road Business Park
4. Appoquinimink River Bridge
5. Augustine Beach
6. Port Penn Impoundments
7. Augustine Wildlife Area - Yardley Dale Tract
8. Grier's Pond
9. White Clay Creek State Park at Hopkins Rd.
10. Woodside Creamery (for tallying and ice cream)
A quick scan of our next location, Augustine Beach, added Herring & Greater Black-backed Gull to our list.
Next, we took a short walk down the Yardley Dale Tract at the Augustine Wildlife Area. Just from the parking lot, we saw at least 8 Bald Eagles of all different ages circling overhead. The new species accumulated quickly: Gadwall, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Ruddy Duck (impressively picked out by Tim from very far away), Cattle Egret, and one other very awesome bird. At the end of the trail, most of us were looking through scopes, trying to figure out what a bird in the distance was— there was a Great-Blue Heron that was causing some confusion. Again, bird-whisperer Judy pulled out an amazing find. Behind the heron was a Common Gallinule! A life bird for me in the U.S. again! Although the bird was very far away, you could make out the red shield on the forehead and yellow-tipped bill. Absolutely incredible, and very cool to observe.
While driving to Grier's Pond, a few of us saw a beautiful Ring-necked Pheasant on the side of the road. Also at Grier's Pond, we added Wilson's Snipe and Solitary Sandpiper to our total!
The final event before the tally at Woodside Creamery was a 2-3 mile walk through White Clay Creek State Park. At this point in the day, I was feeling rather exhausted. I had been snacking and hydrating constantly, but I was still pushing my luck. I knew that if I didn’t join the group on this walk, I’d miss out on something awesome. That’s just how birding works! So, I joined the others on the walk through the woods. Over those few hours, we got some great looks at Northern Parulas and male American Redstarts. The definite highlight was a Kentucky Warbler calling beside a wooded wetland. I remember hearing their call a few years ago while listening to the Peterson Birding By Ear CDs, but had never encountered the call in the field. I was surprised to realize how similar they sound to Ovenbirds! It’s almost identical to the teacher-teacher-teacher call, but without the harshness or rise in pitch. I was very happy to add a new warbler call to my memory.
Anyways, by the time we were within a few hundred meters of the parking lot, I was absolutely and utterly exhausted. I don’t think I’ve been that exhausted in years! It felt good, though, to be physically tired; to know that I had accomplished something by making it through the entire day. In those 10 hours, I had walked over 13,000 steps. To put that in perspective, that’s as many steps as bed-ridden me would walk in two weeks. I still can’t believe that I surpassed my goal and made it past the Appoquinimink bridge! I definitely paid in dizziness and fatigue for pushing myself so hard the following day, but it was 100% worth it. I got to do a big day!! I spent May 2nd in fantastic company, enjoying some of the best birding spots Delaware has to offer— what’s better than that? Oh! And if you were wondering, we tallied 111 species for the day.