Saturday, May 29, 2010

Heislerville WMA, May 29th

The first foray of the long Memorial Day weekend was down to the Delaware bay shore for migrating shorebirds. At the pullout before I hiked the beach road a nice find was Blue Grosbeak (singing male) along with House Wren and Cedar Waxwing. Along the road there were the predictable Marsh Wrens and Seaside Sparrows and fly-over Herons.

The weather was overcast with mediocre light for photo ops, but that wasn't so bad because the shorebirds at the bay were 99% Semipalmated Sandpipers, with very few Dunlin, Sanderlings, Ruddy Turnstones and absolutely NO Red Knots. Erosion was evident here and some of the coastal marsh from the previous year had been rendered into a pile of vegetation washed up by the tide. Not sure if this was a factor or if timing and food supply led to the Knots being concentrated elsewhere. There were certainly a number of Horseshoe Crabs and eggs, as the abundant Laughing Gulls can attest to. I snapped a few pictures of Semipalmated in very average light and left. On the walk back Semipalmated Plover and Least Sandpipers flew by.

I actually had to take a little jaunt down to Kimball's Beach (Cape May NWR) to see Red Knots along the roped off area of the beach although the number of shorebirds here was quite modest. On the way back up I stopped at CMBO at Goshen in the hopes of finding a hummingbird but the seed feeders here were empty and there were no hummingbird feeders at all - previously this location was good for hummingbirds.

After that I went to Belleplain SF along Sunset Road, but activity there was low in the late morning. I could hear and not see Louisiana Waterthrush, Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Acadian Flycatcher so left unsuccessful.

And finally the coup de grace was at the impoundments at Heislerville where despite the high tide there were relatively few shorebirds, and certainly no Curlew Sandpiper or Ruff.

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