On December 4th, we drove down to Bombay Hook NWR near Smyrna Delaware. Go to http://www.fws.gov/refuges/profiles/index.cfm?id=51550 for more information. Also, visit bombayhook.fws.gov/.
To kick things off, this was the first time that I was able to take pictures with my new camera that I was given on the 2nd. It is a Nikon D5000 with a 18-55 mm lens. I am eagerly awaiting a larger lens so I will be able to take close-up shots of birds from farther away.
To start off our birding day, we were met by White-Crowned Sparrows at the front feeder at the visitors center. This was the first time I was able to see an adult male White-Crowned Sparrow, which bears the white crown. I described juvenile White-Crowned Sparrows in a previous post, and for comparison, females are very much alike. The males don’t just have a plain white crown, but three white stripes on their crown, and two thick black stripes separating the white. Also, they have thinner black stripes through their eyes in the same patterns as the other stripes. They look very similar to White-Throated Sparrows, but they have a yellow color on the part of the white stripes on their heads closest to their beaks. The White-Throated Sparrows have pinkish-gray beak, a white throat patch (as you could have guessed), a gray chest and stomach, a brown back and tail, and pink legs and feet. The male White-Crowned Sparrows have gray cheeks, stomach, and chest, a yellow-orange beak, a tan back and tail, and pinkish-gray legs and feet.
Personally, I enjoy birding from the car on the wildlife drive at this particular wildlife refuge because of the great variety of habitats that the drive goes through, marshlands, lakes, deciduous woodlands, farmlands, and open fields. In addition to the wildlife drive, there are a multitude of trails off of the drive to provide good birding to someone who doesn’t want to bird from their car.
On the fourth, there wasn’t really anything spectacular to be seen, other than the lifer for the day, Tundra Swans. Tundra Swans only come around this area in the winter time, but at first glance may be mistaken for Mute Swans (which stay in this area year round). At a quick glance, the only way to distinguish the two species would be the bill color. The Mute Swans have an orange bill, and the Tundra Swans have a black bill with some yellow at the sides.
This is yet another great birding location, which year round bears a bounty of birds. I thoroughly enjoy all of my birding experiences here, and I eagerly await my next visit.