A Day at Gordons Pond Wildlife Area, Whiskey Beach, Delawareby EJ on 12/31/12
Delaware might be small but this tiny wonder of a state is full of surprises.
Last week, the monsters and I discovered Gordon Pond Wildlife
Area, hidden (to us) alongside our beloved Cape Henlopen State Park.
Grandma was visiting and invited the whole crew on a birding expedition by the
sea. Gordon's Pond is a hot spot for congregating birds of all kinds; it's one
of four migration super highways in North America. This section of the park is
accessed by road from Rehoboth Beach.
Since my GPS was actin' a total fool on Ocean Highway, Grandma turned us to a good old fashioned paper map - yes, that's right, a paper map - to get us to our destination. We had some minor issues with that, too. Issues like... "Are you sure the map isn't upside down?" Grandma assured me, "No, the map is not upside down."
On the drive down Columbia Avenue, then left on Surf Avenue (and right onto Henlopen Avenue), Grandma recalled all the summers she spent biking old town Rehoboth as a child. KM whined to the point of tears in the back seat because her belly was empty. "First, we walk. Then - we eat!" Grandma reminded her.
A little down the path, we met the water and were instantly gifted with a huge, long-stretching cloud of snow geese that mutated into different shapes as the countless birds traveled across a white winter sky. Grandma and KM were busy documenting their bird sightings, which in only a matter of minutes included a Great Blue Heron, an osprey that flew overhead, a bazillion snow geese and a yellow-rumped warbler.
At the end of the trail, we came to an observation boardwalk and platform lined with pictures of common birds of the area. ML's jacket had split in both directions of the zipper and her hat kept popping off. Her thin, yellow hair fell in front of her face and she laughed when her brothers chased her. Grandma took her aside on the way back down the trail and showed her a heron that stood mostly hidden by the grasses and the bridge.
By the time we finished the trail, the kids had collected about half a dozen pine cones that ended up in my pockets. We tossed them in the car, shared some cranberries and coconut chips and then headed for Whiskey Beach.
Some guy, all alone on the beach, asked me how many kids I had and I said "Five" to which he replied, "You know you're over populating the world, don't you?" I wanted to say something mean but all that came out was, "Yes, I do."
The kids scattered over the rocks, calling to each other. AJ toddled across the sand nearby, looking at the water as though he didn't know yet whether to trust it or not.
I hugged my little people as we left the beach and thanked Grandma for letting us enjoy the beautiful day with her. We thanked the birds, of course, said goodbye to the ocean and returned to the car to feast on more cranberries and coconut chips.