Where I've been/What I've seen
I will start by saying, It was MUCH easier to sleep the previous night. Today we did not travel very far, but headed to the nearby Prime Hook NWR, around what I believe was a 30 minute drive. We did not spend all that much time at Prime Hook itself, as we had some other spots to head to as well, (Richard Clifton’s Farm and DuPont Nature Center).
In the short amount of time we did spend inside the NWR, we found some nice birds, including Black Skimmers, and many, many, Bald Eagles and Ospreys. We unfortunately came at High Tide, so shorebirds were not to be seen (except for Flyovers). We then proceeded to the nearby beach, but before that, a nice Seaside Sparrow popped out of the reeds nearby, to be spotted by the watchful eyes of one of the leaders.
In the patch of forest we found some very nice passerines, including Red-eyed Vireo (two day photo nemesis no more), Acadian Flycatcher (a lifer), heard only Tufted Titmice, Carolina Chickadee, and as we were exiting, a heard-only Yellow-billed Cuckoo (lifer). Also there was a Red Spotted Purple Butterfly with a partly damaged wing. After this not many more birds were seen, but we did have an uncooperative Question Mark Butterfly. I’m just going to give a little shoutout to George and Joe, who from this little day have gotten me hooked on butterflies and moths.
We then left the Clifton farm for our last stop of the day, DuPont Nature Center. Usually in May, for one day, the harbor is filled with Red Knots, their arrival timed perfectly with when the Horseshoe Crab spawning in this exact harbor. We learned all of this from Bill Stewart, who was giving us a brief discussion on the research being done at this spot when George said something along the lines of, “I’m sorry to interrupt, but there is a strange gull flying along the seawall.” Everyone suddenly turned and tried to find it, eventually everyone getting on it, and from Josh Ward’s very good photos from this distance, it was determined to be a LITTLE GULL, another highlight for that day. After Bill finished giving his talk on Red Knots, we scanned the area, where we found a pair of American Oystercatchers and not much else.
We decided to make one more stop, to see if we could find out where the morning flyover White Ibis roosted, although we didn't see them land, they flew over, perhaps returning from Prime or even Bombay Hook. Additionally, this seemed to be a popular Heron spot, as we had Green, Black-crowned Night, many Egrets, Great Blue Herons, and two Tricolored.
We then returned to Virden center and called it a night.