Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

After I left West Virginia I traveled down to Dover Delaware to spend a couple of days photographing and birding the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge. Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is located in Smyrna Delaware just north of Dover and was established in 1937 when 13,100 acres which were mostly tidal salt marsh along the Delaware Bay were purchased. Over the next 4 to 5 years a company of the Civilian Conservation Corps built the refuge.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombay_Hook_National_Wildlife_Refuge
The refuge is noted for in the late fall and early winter as a gathering spot for snow geese, which is how I first learnt about the refuge about 30 years ago, when I would traveled down to photograph the geese rising out of the pools just as the sun rose.
In the spring Bombay Hook is a resting spot for migrating shorebirds and neotropical species. It is definitely worth a trip down to visit it. It is a stop on the Delaware birding trail.
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There is a 12-mile round-trip auto tour road and five nature trails.
On three of the trails there are observation towers present.
I usually do the majority of my photography from inside my car, utilizing the puffin pad (http://photobee1.blogspot.com/2011/04/puffin-pad-review.html) to support my long lens. I utilize a puffin pad on both of my front windows, so that I can photograph either on the right side of left side of the car. I will usually make two trips around the refuge starting at sunrise in the morning and finish up with at least two trips in the afternoon. This helps with Sun angles and with the changing species that are present, especially during migration.
f Great Egreat in Tree wind late afternoon_ROT2318 Bombay Hook-Edit  May 08, 2011 NIKON D3S
Great Egret in the wind late afternoon

Bald Eagele -imm fly w fish _ROT3113 Bombay Hook  May 10, 2011 NIKON D3S
Immature Bald Eagle with Fish
 Besides utilizing my 500 mm lens with and without teleconverters I have a second camera ready with a 70-200 mm f 2 .8 for flight shots. When I hike along the trails, I will utilize the 70-200 mm f 2 .8 lens to capture pictures of the various birds, animals and plants that I may see. I also carry in my vest a wide-angle lens so that some of the beautiful scenes can be captured.
Marsh at Bombay Hook_D074955 Bombay Hook  May 09, 2011 NIKON D7000
Marsh

fl Finis Pool_D074895 Bombay Hook  May 09, 2011 NIKON D7000
Finis Pool
  
The fun of the trips is that each one is different and you never know what you are going to find. On one of the afternoon trips I came around a corner, and in the road were a vixen and four pups. Because of where the foxes were located, I had to take pictures through the front window of my car and only obtained a picture from memory's sake. Red Fox pup_D075158 Bombay Hook  May 09, 2011 NIKON D7000
There were many species of shorebirds present, mainly dunlins and black-necked stilts with a few yellowlegs present. Last year, I was here a week earlier and the main species of shorebirds that were present were yellowlegs with only a few black-necked stilts. A good number of different species of peeps were present. lr Back-necked Stilt_ROT2445 Bombay Hook  May 08, 2011 NIKON D3S Black-necked Stilt _ROT3303 Bombay Hook-Edit  May 10, 2011 NIKON D3S
On my first trip, the last morning prior to leaving, there were a large group of Avocets that came in during the night. fl Avocet copulating_ROT3086 Bombay Hook  May 10, 2011 NIKON D3S This was my first sighting of the Avocets at Bombay Hook but also my first sighting of them in the Northeast.
fl Black-crowned Night-heron_ROT3369 Bombay Hook  May 10, 2011 NIKON D3S
Black-crowned Night-heron
Snowy Egret _ROT3203 Bombay Hook  May 10, 2011 NIKON D3S
Snowy Egret
Orchard Oriole _ROT3190 Bombay Hook  May 10, 2011 NIKON D3S
Orchard Oriole
fl RWBB_ROT3066 Bombay Hook  May 10, 2011 NIKON D3S
Red-winged Blackbird
Gray Catbird_D074959 Bombay Hook  May 09, 2011 NIKON D7000
Gray Catbird
fl Great Egret_ROT2749 Bombay Hook  May 09, 2011 NIKON D3S
Great Egret
f Eastern Kingbird_ROT2595 Bombay Hook  May 09, 2011 NIKON D3S
Eastern Kingbird
Blue GrosebeaK_ROT2660West Virginia - Bombay Hook  NIKON D3S May 09, 2011
Blue Grosbeak

There are a number of foxes at Bombay Hook and when you start down the Tour Route there is a warning sign.

fox sign _D075208 Bombay Hook  May 10, 2011 NIKON D7000
Red Fox _ROT2792 Bombay Hook  May 09, 2011 NIKON D3S
Red Fox