On Saturday night I made the decision to run the field trip knowing the forecast for Sunday was not promising. On the Wyncote Audubon Facebook Page I posted the following:
“Conditions for our field trip will be less than optimal. I plan on donning my rain gear, bringing my umbrella and giving it a try but I make no promises. Use your own judgment whether to come, this trip will not be rescheduled”.
Six people joined me hoping for a few breaks in the rain as we gave it the olde college try but Mother Nature won out, she is undefeated after all, and after a few hours in the rain we called it a day. Because of the rainy weather, limited turnout combined to just 2 cars and reports of a few good birds at Heislerville (you can look for shorebirds in the rain) I decided to head there first. For anyone still wondering why it is important to tell the field trip leader you are coming on a trip, this kind of truly last minute change in plans is exactly what we mean. If you were 10 minutes late you had no idea where we were. At Heislerville with umbrellas up we scanned the large number of shorebirds for the two special targets there, the Ruff and the Curlew Sandpiper. Amongst the Dunlin, Least and Semi-palmated Sandpipers, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Killdeer, Semi-palmated and Black-bellied Plovers we scanned and scanned but weren’t having any luck. Finally we the aid of another birder there some of us did get on the Curlew Sandpiper before the flock took off and reshuffled. We weren’t able to refind it or the Ruff and after about 90 minutes of standing in the rain there we headed back to Belleplain.
In Belleplain we did get to see a few birds Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Black-and- white and Pine Warblers, White-eyed Vireos and hear a few more of the residents in Belleplain Ovenbird and Worm-eating Warbler but the rain really did not let up and it was pretty darn quiet. So about 11am common sense prevailed and we headed home.