Thursday, July 8, 2010
A Ruff Day in Delaware
Yesterday while I was in flight to Baltimore, I got a phone message from Andrew Baldelli letting me know there was a black Ruff at Bombay Hook NWR in Delaware. When I got home, I checked it out and decided to make a run for the bird. Colin Campbell in Delaware encouraged me saying that once in place Ruffs tend to stay for a bit. So I called Andrew who had volunteered to go with me and set it up to pick him up at 3:45am. I was awake before the alarm, so I got up, dressed, and put my stuff in the car, and left, only to return a short time later to pick up my cell phone which I had forgotten. I picked up Andrew and set the gps for the Delaware refuge. We had no traffic heading across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel and up Rte 13. It was an easy drive. After it got light, we stopped briefly for a donut and a cup of coffee, and arrived at the refuge at 8:00am. Checking out the sign in sheet, we found that the Ruff had been seen the day before in the morning. We used the restroom and headed out for the observation tower at Raymond pool where the bird had been seen. I almost never use the tower, but Colin had strongly suggested that we begin there and it was indeed a good decision. We hadn't been up there more than two minutes before Andrew said, "I've got a Ruff, but it's a white one and not a black one." Indeed it was! (photo) Clearly there are two birds involved and I'm not going to speculate beyond that. We observed our bird and the other birds in the pool for over an hour and never saw a black Ruff or any other Ruff. Needless to say the ride home to Norfolk was a happy one. And I was able to salvage a luncheon date with Tony Hage and Dick Palmer to boot. The Ruff is bird #653. Now all I have to do is to complete some arrangements for future travel and pack for Arizona (5:00am flight tomorrow) before I fall asleep.