Bald Eagle at Assawoman Wildlife Area by Ken Arni


Don't miss the November 17 meeting of Sussex Bird Club at 2:00 p.m. at the the Lewes Library. Michael Oates, an award winning digital media storyteller, will present "A Meeting of Migrations." This fascinating video about the spring migrations of red knots and horseshoe crabs profiles the ecology of the horseshoe crab/shorebird phenomenon, the work of researchers, and the public's interaction with this annual event. More information about Mr. Oates and his digital media projects can be found at The public is welcome.

 On the morning of Thursday, November 7, 2019, eighteen SBC members and guests converged at the James Farm Ecological Preserve. It was a beautiful chilly fall day. We walked through the woods and spent time at the bayfront observation deck. We saw lots of yellow-rumped warblers and brant:

We then drove a short distance to Quillens Point where we saw more brant as well as a large flock of red-winged blackbirds, dunlin, and greater yellowlegs:

Thursday, November 7, 2019   8-11 a.m.

We'll meet at the James Farm Ecological Preserve at 8:00 a.m. We'll bird the woods and bay on foot then drive to Quillens Point to observe the Indian River Bay.

No fees or permits required. Targets: sparrows, late neotropical migrants, waterfowl, raptors, early winter birds.

10 birders gathered in the parking lot at Phillips Landing. The temperature was 40F with fog on the water. Parking lot action included 4 bluebirds, pine and yellow-rump warblers. Saw a beaver in the river. Walked the woodland trail and had several hermit thrush. We then went to the Nanticoke WA fields and saw some hawks and sparrows. Best moment of the day was a low flyover of a red-tailed hawk who screamed at a pair of coopers hawks flying high above him. We had a total 36 species in 2 eBird checklists:    (photo © Dick Plambeck)

 Thursday, October 24, 2019   7:00 a.m.

We will carpool from Lowes (Lewes) to the boat ramp at Phillips Landing with a planned arrival time of 8 AM. We will bird around the boat ramp and the short trail to the stream and back.
              From Phillips Landing we will make the short drive to Nanticoke Wildlife area and bird the Big Field area. Depending on time and interest we may visit one or two other spots at Phillips landing and depart for Lowes about 10:30 AM.

Targets: sparrows, late neotropical migrants, waterfowl, raptors, early winter birds.

Conservation Access Pass required to park at Nanticoke WA; bring yours if you're driving.

Registration required!
(Photo © Dick Plambeck)

Eleven members and two guests of Sussex Bird Club met at Indian River Inlet on the south side of Delaware Seashore State Park. Winter waterfowl had not arrived but we did see Caspian, royal, common and Forsters terns, cormorants and three white winged scoters.

Next the group crossed the inlet and headed to the Burton Island trail. Highlights were two black-crowned night herons, palm and yellow-rumped warblers and two eastern phoebes.

We finished the morning with an early lunch at Big Chill Beach Club with a view of the ocean where we saw a lesser black-backed gull and a ring-billed gull on the beach.

11 Sussex Bird Club members birded the refuge HQ area including the boardwalk trail and Turkle and Fleetwood Ponds. We observed some 36 species including an elusive solitary sandpiper. Then we carpooled to Fowler Beach via Prime Hook Road and Cod’s Road, stopping several times. Two northern harriers put on a show and a Coopers Hawk was seen from the road. We saw many sparrows and finally identified at least one as a savannah sparrow. We had planned to head to Slaughter Beach and the Marvel Saltmarsh boardwalk but we spent all our time at PHNWR headquarters and Fowler Beach. The eBird checklists for this trip are: and (photo of savannah sparrow © Sharon Lynn)

Take a break from the ordinary! We're planning two events on Oct. 13 in lieu of our regular monthly meeting. Weather permitting, we'll go birding at various sites around the Indian River Inlet  followed by lunch at the Big Chill Beach Club. It's a family-friendly social occasion, so be prepared to mix, mingle, munch and more! Feel free to attend either or both events. Meet at the south side of Indian River inlet at 8:45 a.m. to bird the beach and inlet, then travel across Rt. 1 to the Burton Island causeway. Join us for lunch at the BCBC about 11:30 a.m. The Big Chill is open-air, so dress accordingly! State Park entry fee is in effect.

Field Trip Thursday, October 10, 2019

Meet at Prime Hook Refuge HQ at 8:00 a.m. We will carpool from there to Fowler Beach looking for sparrows and other migrants along the way. We may walk to the bay for savannah sparrows and horned larks. Then on to Slaughter Beach and the Marvel Saltmarsh Preserve, possibly birding at the DuPont Nature Center before returning to Prime Hook HQ. Our targets are: sparrows, late neotropical migrants and shorebirds, raptors, and early winter birds.

(Photo of Song Sparrow © Dick Plambeck)

Seventeen Sussex Bird Club members were lucky enough to spend the morning at the Edelen property near Anderson Corner in rural central Sussex County. We started on the deck overlooking the pond while the sun rose above the trees. Many blue jays, catbirds, cardinals, chickadees, mourning doves, a belted kingfisher, one northern parula and an immature blue grosbeak were flitting into fruiting black chokeberry and devil’s walking stick. Warblers zoomed into the mature pines and oaks around the pond.

We then walked around the pond and into the woods, ultimately to the feeder and bird creek. We ended the morning back on the deck where abundant chickadees, titmice, catbirds and cardinals were feeding on the fruiting shrubs.        eBird checklist:   (Photo © Dick Plambeck)

Thursday, September 26  @  8:00 a.m.

Join Sussex Bird Club on a special opportunity to visit member Bob Edelen's spectacular property near Anderson's Corner, Harbeson. Assemble at Bob's property at 8 a.m. The woods can be wet depending on weather but we will spend most of our time watching Bob's feeder area and bird creek/mister. If we are lucky we will see several species of warblers bathing in the shallow water at close range. 

Photo of black-throated blue warbler © Bob Edelen

This was an overnight trip via CML Ferry with 8 members participating. Birding stops on Tuesday included Cape May Point SP (both hawk watch & trails), Cape May Bird Observatory Northwood Center, Rea Farm (beanery), Higbee Beach WMA, and TNC's South Cape May Meadows.

Wednesday's avian adventures included return visits to Higbee Beach and the hawk watch, then The Wetland Institute (Stone Harbor), Nummy Island, and Cape May NWR Two Mile Unit.  A fun time was had by all! Click here to see the complete trip report and eBird checklists.

We will be traveling to Cape May, NJ for an overnight field trip September 17-18, 2019. We will carpool to NJ on the Tuesday 8:45 a.m. ferry and return on the 6:00 p.m. ferry Wednesday. Meals and lodging are at participants' choice and expense. Participants also have the option of making it a day trip, returning on the Tuesday 6 p.m. ferry.

Birding plans: Cape May Point State Park CMBO Hawk Watch Platform and trails on Tuesday. Higbee Beach, Cape May Meadows, The Beanery and elsewhere as time and interest permit. Early morning start on Wednesday (daybreak for migrating passerines).  Registration with Rob Blye is required for ALL participants!

Six members traveled to Middle Run Natural Area outside Newark for a day of birding. We were met there by Joe Swertinski, who kindly acted as our local guide. Our goal was to find fall migrants such as warblers, vireos and flycatchers and we were successful. We spent about 2 hours walking the mowed trails at Middle Run and saw many redstarts, black-throated green and Canada warblers along with red-eyed and white-eyed vireos and a family of blue grosbeaks. A screech owl responded to the “Bird Magic” owl and chickadee mobbing tape that Joe played to drum up some activity.

We then followed Joe to White Clay Creek State Park and enjoyed a warbler and vireo fallout in the parking lot; more Canada warblers, northern parula and as many as 20 red-eyed vireos. After lunch we went on to the Ashton and Baxter tracts of Augustine Wildlife Area, Augustine Beach, Thousand Acre Marsh and Greer Pond, and finally Bombay Hook NWR! We finished the day with some 76 bird species, tired but pleased with our...

Tuesday, September 10 field trip to Middle Run Natural Area near Newark, DE. We will carpool to Middle Run in time to join the bird walk (8-10 a.m.) led by a naturalist from Delaware Nature Society. Middle Run is a fall migrant trap often with abundant warblers, vireos, flycatchers, thrushes and sparrows. Don't miss this great opportunity to see some exciting birds after Hurricane Dorian passes north! Meet at Lowes in Lewes at 6:00 a.m. to carpool. Must register with Rob Blye. Depending on group interest and migrant activity we may bird on the way home: White Clay Creek, Greer's Pond, Ashton Tract, Penn Tract, Bombay Hook or ??

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© 2019 by Sussex Bird Club. All rights reserved.

Field Trip contact info:

Rob Blye


Treasurer, Sussex Bird Club

PO Box 177

Lewes, DE  19958