It was quiet. No birds singing in the Walpatich and Lautenschlager Units. Only crickets and a couple of flyover Tree Swallows. As I approached the Humphries Unit a large colony of Great Egrets was roosting near shore. I stopped far enough back to scan the 120 birds for any Snowy Egrets. I found 5 Snowies along the far left side of the group, but they all flew before I could get off the bike to scope them.
I headed for the North Causeway via the dike separating Bloody Run and Long Pond Units. Song Sparrows bounced across the road in front of me, and the only way to ID them was by their long, Spizella tails. A Cooper's Hawk was roosting on a pole to my left as I road by, but took off the moment I slowed down. Same went for a Northern Harrier, so I continued riding toward the North Causeway and Cell 5.
I spotted the American White Pelican in Cell 5 almost immediately. It was along the far shoreline among a pair of Great Egrets, and dwarfed them in size. An American Avocet in basic plumage was also there, and as I scanned the shoreline I spotted five Short-billed Dowitchers and a handful of Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers.
|Warning! NOT digiscoped|
As I headed back I ran into Todd Palgut, who alerted me to a possible pair of Long-billed Dowitchers in the NE corner of the Humphries Unit, so I rode over to verify. They were far back in the vegetation but almost completely molted into winter grays.
I got back to the car just before the rains hit. It was a good season, and I'll miss the place until 2014.