2017 Winter Weekend at the Beach

February 18 – 20, 2017

As reported by Bob Ringler

Five club members journeyed to the Eastern Shore. On Saturday we birded in Delaware, on Sunday in the Ocean City area, and on Monday points on the way home. We enjoyed typical February weather with temperatures in the 60s and 70s, no precipitation, and
generally moderate breezes (except Sunday afternoon when the wind picked up).

We started on Saturday at Bombay Hook NWR where we found a good variety of ducks and thousands of Snow Geese. Our only Bonaparte’s Gull of the trip was here. At Prime Hook NWR we were entertained by 25 Avocets, and thousands of Snow Geese. Our last stop was at Indian River Inlet where there were two Great Cormorants on the tower at the jetty, our only scoters of the trip, Black Scoter, and a real prize – decent looks at two Razorbills not far offshore.
Sunday at Ocean City we began at the inlet with three female Common Eiders in good view and a large flight of Gannets that I estimated at 600 birds which flew past the jetty very early and began feeding in an area just south of the inlet before streaming north about a half hour later. The usual denizens of the rocks were also there – Purple
Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstones, and Sanderlings.

At Skimmer Island we saw our first Oystercatcher of the day. The West Ocean City pond had its usual assortment of waterfowl including Tundra Swans and Canvasbacks. Herring Creek Nature Park was good for Brown-headed Nuthatches and two Hermit Thrushes. At Castaways we scoped the distant flocks of shorebirds for more Oystercatchers, Black-bellied Plovers, Greater Yellowlegs, and Dunlin. Monday morning we began at the remnant woods from 94th Street to 98th where we saw two Rubycrowned Kinglets, our only kinglets of the weekend, and a Pine Warbler, our only warbler besides the ubiquitous Yellow-rumped.

2017 winter weekend at the beach

We then took off down the road to Blackwater NWR. Thousands of geese remained here, both Canada and Snow. Blackwater was always a center for wintering Blue Geese and this is still true with hundreds of dark morph mixed in with the white Snow Geese. Other
excitement was provided by a flock of about 20 White Pelicans, two Tree Swallows, four Forster’s Terns – and some Bald Eagles.

A visit to Hooper’s Island produced mostly Buffleheads and Horned Grebes _ and some Bald Eagles. A drive past the Shorters Wharf marshes gave us close views of Greater Yellowlegs and more puddle ducks _ and some Bald Eagles. We finished the day at the end of Oakley Street in Cambridge where we finally added some Lesser Scaup to our list and the hybrid Canvasback X Redhead giving us a total of eighteen and a half species of ducks for the weekend!
Thanks again go to Bill Ellis for allowing us the use of the family condo in Ocean City. It is an excellent base for this trip.

Carroll County Chapter of Maryland Ornithological Society

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