By Joe Sebastiani, Members Program Team Leader
On the south side of Indian River Bay is a small Delaware State Park called Holts Landing. It is a few miles north of Millville, Delaware. I covered the area around the park during the recent Rehoboth Christmas Bird Count. Not only does this park have waterfront on Indian River Bay and excellent scenery, but is has wonderful forest, swamp, and thicket habitat as well.
The trail system is good for about a 2-hour stroll, if you take it slow to fully investigate. These trails pass through a mix of young forest, swampy woods, wooded ponds, old field and thicket. My friend Jim Hall, the Nature Center Manager at Delaware Seashore State Park, says it’s an excellent place to find reptiles and amphibians in the warmer months. It was warm enough on Saturday that I heard several calling Spring Peepers, a small type of treefrog.
Regarding birds, this little park was really productive on the Rehoboth Christmas Count last Saturday. I encountered some excellent wintering species such as Gray Catbird, Hermit Thrush, Great Horned Owls and Eastern Screech-owls, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Brown Creeper, Golden and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, lots of Yellow-rumped Warblers, a Pine Warbler, Purple Finches, Pine Siskins, and hordes of sparrows including 3 Fox Sparrows. Just outside the park, there are lots of farm fields where you may see other species of animals and birds. This is great, since much of the surrounding area looks like it is being developed.
The waterfront in the park looks over Indian River Bay and is a good place to see waterfowl in winter. I saw lots of Bufflehead which are a small diving duck, as well as Red-breasted Merganser, Common Goldeneye, and Common Loon. One of the Loons gave its summer “crazy as a loon” call, which was unexpected.
Have you visited Holts Landing State Park? If not, take time out for a walk there if you are around the Bethany Beach/Millville area.