Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bombay Hook Migratory Bird Festival

Raymond Pool from Observation Tower

May 17 was International Migratory Bird Day. Chris and I rose earlier than usual for a Saturday, and headed for Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. It's hard to believe we've lived in this area for over 20 years and never visited Bombay Hook, but then again this was also the first time we made a road trip for the sole purpose of birding. We arrived early, but the serious birders were already out and about. We followed the auto tour route, stopping at points along the way to follow a trail or climb an observation tower.

At first, most of the birds we observed were ones we commonly find at home, like red-winged blackbirds and swallows. Then we came to Shearness Pool, an area of salt- and freshwater marshes. The shorebirds were out in abundance! Most were new to us; many were migrating, so we felt lucky to be there before they moved on. Our observations included: Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus), Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis), Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus), Red Knot (Calidris canutus), American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana), Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), Snowy Egret (Egretta thula), and Great Egret (Ardea alba).

My tiny point-and-shoot digital camera can be handy, but proved useless in capturing everything we saw that day. More experienced wildlife photographers wisely came equipped with giant lenses and tripods. We enjoyed the sights and the trails anyway. Returning to the visitor center, we found a raptor exhibit underway, where I could get up close and personal with this cute screech owl!
By the time we returned home, the kids had only just started their day. They failed to appreciate what they'd missed! Well, back in the old days we used to go on "dinner and a movie" dates. Or maybe we'd see a concert. More and more I suspect our "dates" will involve being out in nature, early in the morning. And that's a good thing ...

1 comment:

mon@rch said...

Laura . . . this festival looks like such a great time with many great birds!