Bombay Hook

This morning, I woke up for another good day of birding after the conference yesterday. My Dad and I went downstairs to have a bowl of cereal before heading out. As we were eating, a fox wandered by outside. It was very cool to see for I have only seen two other red foxes before.
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Red fox
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Another photo of the fox
Then, we left and headed towards Bombay Hook NWR. For those of you who don’t know, Bombay Hook is a world famous refuge for shorebirds, ducks, and waders.
When we got there we stopped for a short while at the visitor center to pick up a map and bird checklist. Then we headed towards the auto tour. The first place we stopped at was a trail leading to an observation tower. We headed down the trail listening to the many catbirds that were in the brush on the side of the trail. As we approached the tower, we saw a hermit thrush dart across the path. We then climbed the tower and this view greeted us.

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View from observation tower
And just so you know, all those little dots are American avocets.

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American avocets below observation tower
We then continued on the auto tour. As we turned left around a bend, we came across a falcon flying around the marshes. We were unable to identify it and it soon flew off. However, as we were about to move on, another flew in and we found it to be a Merlin!

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Merlin on tree branch
We then moved on to the pond we could see from the tower. There we found, besides the avocets, lesser yellowlegs, short-billed dowitchers, shovelers, blue-winged teal, and much more.

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Lesser yellowlegs

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American avocet
We then continued down the road. We saw some more cool birds, snowy egret, tundra swan, forster’s terns, and the great egret below.

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Great egret

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Another photo of the egret
Then, we came to some mudflats. We got out and set up the scope to look out over them. What we saw were two cormorants, a black-bellied plover, two juvenile eagles sitting on the flats, a greater black-backed gull, and some snowy egrets.

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Snowy egret
We then looked behind us and saw a large number of cars parked on the side of the road. We had known that some of the ABA members would be coming to the refuge so we backed up to where they were. We were right, it was the whole ABA contingent. We stayed with them for a while. We then went with them to some other spots they were stopping at. One of the spots was where two black terns had been spotted not two minutes before we had gotten there. The terns weren’t there when we arrived. However, we stayed for a bit, and to our happiness, they soon returned and we were treated to great looks at these charismatic terns. As ABA board member Michael Bowen put it, “they look like large butterflies.” And they do with the way they leisurely yet powerfully flap.
That is really about it for today. We are now on our way back to Pittsburgh where I will, as always, be birding some more. However, I must admit that I am sad to leave. In these two days, I have become quite attached to Delaware, both its bird life and its scenery. I hope I will be able to come back soon.

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