Sunday, November 15, 2009

Blackwater NWR Trip 11-14-09

Yesterday I went on a birding trip to Blackwater NWR in Maryland with the Conocoheague Audubon Society. There were 13 of us on the trip and we all met at the Martin's house, loaded up all our stuff into three cars and headed down to the NWR. On the drive down we picked up the common birds; red-tailed hawk, American crow, black and turkey vulture, mourning dove, etc. When we got close to Blackwater on Eygpt Road, we found two large groups of gulls. There were great black-backed gulls, laughing gulls, and ring-billed gulls. Both groups of gulls had over 200 individuals in them. In the second flock, I spotted a few horned larks and along with them I spotted three American pipits.
American pipit

ring-billed gull

A little closer to the refuge, this rusty blackbird was sitting in the top of a tree.

Once inside the refuge, bald eagles were everywhere, like this adult on a large snag near the visitor center.

Large numbers of northern pintails, mallards, American wigeons, and northern shovelers (like this male) were starting to arrive at the refuge.

great-blue herons are very common at Blackwater.

bald eagle

We stopped at a few wooded areas that had a bunch of conifers in them to try and find a brown-headed nuthatch, a bird that is a southern species mainly, but has a pretty stable population in coastal areas of Maryland and New Jersey. We were not finding any until we stopped at a stand of loblolly pines along the wildlife drive. Here we played the call of a brown-headed and almost instantly about eight of the little birds flew into a pine tree above us. This bird was a lifer for me, number 503!
We saw pretty much all we could in the refuge and so we decided to drive down to Hooper's Island, just a few miles away to look for some birds that prefer the really open water. This American kestrel was on a powerline along the road.
These two horned grebes were enjoying the choppy water.
common loon
Another common loon.....there were quite a few out on the more open water near Hooper's island.
Most of the jettys had birds on them. This particular one had great black-backed gulls, dunlins, sanderlings, and one great-blue heron.
This Wilson's snipe was sitting in someones flooded front yard on Hooper's Island, along with a bunch of dunlins. A lot of the island was flooded, and some areas of the road had quite a bit of standing water on them that we had to drive through.
For sure the most beautiful bird of the trip was this lone male Oldsqauw.
Overall the trip was a success. We had 80 species of birds and I added one lifer to my list and added four birds to my photo life list. We saw a red fox, white-tailed deer, and the two Maryland mammal specialties; sika deer and Delmarva fox squirrel. I would post the entire trip list, but I dont feel like it.

1 comment:

  1. hey - looks like it was a great trip - sorry i missed it. brown headed nuthatch is very cool...