Mid-Atlantic Specialties Trip Report
May 6-May 9, 2000

Four people enjoyed the rescheduled Mid-Atlantic specialties birding trip.

We started out Saturday evening and drove down to just south of Washington DC. After trouble checking out of the Comfort Inn - the clerk was clueless about the computer system - we headed out to Huntley Meadows.

This freshwater marsh held Great Egrets, Solitary, Least and Spotted Sandpipers, Green and Great Blue Herons. An adult Bald Eagle soared overhead and a Bank Swallow was found amongst the Tree and Barn Swallows.  The surprise find was a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. Unfortunately the King Rails were no where to be found.


Tent Caterpillars were everywhere and as expected with this important food source, plenty of Yellow-billed Cuckoos.


After a great lunch at the Polo Grill on Route 1, we headed down to the Great Dismal Swamp. We did an evening foray into the swamp and had great looks at Prothonotary and Hooded Warblers

The next morning it was back out to the swamp. We heard, but did not see, three Swainson's Warblers. Another Yellow-billed Cuckoo was spotted along with plenty of Prairie Warblers and Great Crested Flycatchers. A number of different butterflies were seen including the large black and yellow Palamedes Swallowtail to the small Spring Azure. A Lace-winged Roadside-Skipper was neat as well as the Southern Pearly-eye and Red-banded Hairstreak.



     The afternoon took us over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. We had permission to bird all four of the man made islands. At Island #1, Ruddy Turnstones were common and some came right up to us, almost begging for food. The parking lot had a Seaside Sparrow and the rocks held Sanderling and late Purple Sandpipers.

     The find of the trip occurred on island #4 where we spooked up a Short-eared Owl from the rocks! It was a weird site to see an owl, in the middle of the ocean during the day! After the bridge Kitapeck Park had plenty of Brown Pelicans and Osprey. The evening took us to Saxis Marsh that had plenty of Clapper Rails and Seaside Sparrows, but no Black Rails.


     The next mourning Milburn Landing gave us  looks at Scarlet Tanager, Yellow-throated Vireos, Pine, Prothonotary, Worm-eating and Yellow-throated Warblers. Pink Lady Slippers were everywhere in the woods. We ran into a snake sunning itself on the path. From its quick movements we believed it to be a Black Racer. 


At Chicoteague National Wildlife Refuge we had the usual looks at the ponies and Sika Deer. Plenty of Boat-tailed Grackles were evident and we found Whimbrel on the beach with Laughing Gulls overlooking us. Other finds at the refuge include Northern Bobwhite along the road, Dunlin and Short-billed Dowitchers on the mudflats, Purple Martin overhead, Brown-headed Nuthatches in the woods along with a young Great Horned Owl in a nest. Later that night we heard, but did not see Chuck-wills-widow and American Woodcock.



The final day of our trip yielded Blue Grosbeak as we exited Cypress Swamp and Yellow-breasted Chat at Little Creek.  Both Black-necked Stilt and American Avocet were at Bombay N.W.R. We ended up with 146 species for the trip.

Thanks for reading!

Michael and Kelli

Read our other trip reports at Kelli and Mike's Adventures

Comments? Send an e-mail to Michael Bochnik