Monday, March 16, 2015

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, DE

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge - US Fish and Wildlife Service
Entrance fee can be paid at the visitor center or at the beginning of the auto tour.

GPS Coordinates to Visitor Center Parking 39.259600, -75.473709

View Larger Map
Visitor Center Parking

Public Tour Route Map (page 5) - National Wildlife Refuge Auto Tour (this map is better than the trail map)
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, DE at EveryTrail

There really are no hiking trails, just a few short mowed paths/boardwalks to overlooks.  I hiked two loops and an out-and-back linking them together in the car on the auto route.  If Shawnee were a couple years younger and hadn't already hiked 15 miles in the past week (yikes!) I would have hiked the whole thing but it would have come to over 11 miles.  This is how it breaks down:
Raymond Pool Loop (park at visitor's center) - 3.5 miles
Bear Swamp Pool Loop (drive to Bear Swamp and park at trail entrance) - 3.4 miles
Parson Point Trail (finish driving tour and park at trail entrance on way to exit) - 1.2 miles

Hang a left out of the visitor center and follow the signs as though in a car, but on foot!
Today's hiking trail.
On the left, the parking area and trail to the Raymond Observation Tower.
A wide mowed path leads the way.
Shawnee waiting while I climb the observation tower.  I am terrified of heights but I was climbing these towers like nobody's business.
Views from the tower.
This tower was crowded with birders so I did not stay long.
On to the Boardwalk Trail.
On the Boardwalk Trail, a red-bellied woodpecker...
... eating ...
... breakfast.
Raccoon and assorted critter tracks in the mud off of the boardwalk.
Tree Swallow (recently arrived from wintering in Mexico/South America/Caribbean)
Red-winged Blackbird
Back on the auto tour route.
Lots of shovelers.
Snow geese in the distance.
To the Shearness Tower.
Great, nobody there!
Shawnee waits patiently.  She is only tied to my backpack but it does not move an inch.
More snow geese in the distance.
Finishing the loop back to the Visitor Center.
Driving the loop we just walked.
Common Merganser
American Coots
Greater Yellowlegs
Parking at the Bear Swamp Trail.
Bear Swamp Trail.
Views from the observation tower.
Hiking the Bear Swamp Pool loop.
Savannah Sparrow (?)
This is where all of these snow geese are congregating.
Great Blue Heron
Lots of nests everywhere.
More snow geese arriving.
Somebody is getting tired.
Back to the car for a break while we finish the auto tour.
Driving the loop we just hiked.
Those last snow geese flying over had joined the others - there were noticeably more geese.
What is that big bird over to the left?
WOW!  A bald eagle!  I took many, many pictures but he was far away and with the zoom on my camera as far as it would go, the pictures were not very clear.  This is the best one.
I parked at the Parson Point Trail and considered leaving Shawnee in the car since it was cloudy and cool but she was having none of that so she came along.
A huge old tree at the end of the Parson Point Trail.
Not much to see on this trail and it's kind of overgrown at the end so no good views.
But it's a nice walk through the woods for a change.