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Short Trips for Target Birds Series

DELAWARE: Spring Shorebird Spectacle

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From: $1,250 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (PHL)


2 - 7 Participants


7 spaces available


This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.

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Highlights of DELAWARE: Spring Shorebird Spectacle

  • The Shorebird Capital of North America
  • Spectacle of thousands of shorebirds feasting on horseshoe crab eggs
  • Staging area of endangered rufa Red Knots
  • Variety of colorful breeding songbirds

Description of DELAWARE: Spring Shorebird Spectacle

The spectacle of shorebirds foraging along the Delaware Bay shoreline in spring is unrivaled. Hundreds of thousands of Ruddy Turnstones, Sanderlings, Dunlin, Semipalmated Sandpipers, and Short-billed Dowitchers congregate in a feeding frenzy along sandy coastlines. Red Knots, recently placed on the federal Endangered Species list, are the jewel of the flocks, showing rust-red bellies while foraging hungrily.

Our trip is timed for the peak of migration in May, when massive numbers of shorebirds move through the region. Driven by instinct, the birds’ arrival coincides with horseshoe crabs laying their eggs along tidal coastlines.  Shorebirds feast on the eggs, which provide critical fuel for a migratory journey that, for Red Knots, spans thousands of miles from the tip of South America to breeding grounds in the Canadian tundra.

We’ll visit multiple locations – national wildlife refuges, state parks, and private-access spots – along the Delaware Bayshore, miles of which is preserved and protected by Delaware’s strong conservation regulations. We’ll take our time scanning up close foraging flocks, learning identifying field marks, and increasing knowledge and appreciation of these amazing migrants and their habitats. A quick jaunt to inland locales produces a colorful variety of breeding warblers, tanagers, orioles, cuckoos, flycatchers, and much more.

“There’s really no place on earth like the Delaware Bay in May!” Leader Bill Stewart couldn’t agree more with this oft-exclaimed sentiment. With some fun engaging effort, you can expect more than 130 bird species during our time together, experiencing the best that Delaware has to offer!



Length of Tour


Brief Itinerary

Day 1 – Mid-day arrival Philadelphia; PM Birding Delaware

Day 2 – Delaware Bayshore

Day 3 – Delaware Bayshore

Day 4 – AM birding Delaware; Mid-day drop off at Philadelphia

3 nights in Milford, Delaware

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 – Mid-day arrival Philadelphia: Transfer to Delaware

Arrive by noon; depending on arrival times and other circumstances we may bird our way down to the Delaware Bay shore from the airport.

Day 2 & 3 – Delaware Bayshore

Each day’s birding itinerary and locations will be customized to maximize our birding experiences based upon recent bird sightings, weather, tides and experience. We expect to visit most, if not all, of Delaware’s famed birding hotspots:

DuPont Nature Center at Mispillion Harbor Reserve; Slaughter Beach; Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge; Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge; Milford Neck Wildlife Management Area; Beach Plum Island Nature Reserve; Cape Henlopen State Park; Redden State Forest.

We’ll have access to several private bayshore habitats for an exclusive experience.

Along beaches and coastal habitats, we’ll observe large numbers of Red Knots, Ruddy Turnstones, Semipalmated and Western Sandpipers, Dunlin, Sanderlings, and Short-billed Dowitchers. Other shorebirds include Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Willet, and plovers. We’ll keep an eye out for godwits, phalaropes, Ruff, Curlew and White-rumped Sandpipers and other goodies. Bald Eagles, hawks, terns, gulls, and waders abound along the bayshore.

We’ll visit upland habitat for breeding birds such as Worm-eating, Yellow-throated, Prothonotary, Kentucky, Hooded, and Prairie Warblers, along with Brown-headed Nuthatch, Dicksissel, Grasshopper Sparrow, Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, Orchard and Baltimore Orioles, Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoos, Yellow-throated Vireo, Acadian Flycatcher, Barred Owl, and much more.

Day 4 – Delaware;  Mid-day drop off at Philadelphia

We spend the morning birding in Delaware before being dropped off at Philadelphia airport mid-day.

Cost Details


Cost is $1,250 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Airport code PHL).
This trip ends in same as arrival city (Airport code ).

Cost Includes

Cost includes airport transfers, all ground transportation, accomodations, entrance fees and services of your professional leader(s).

Cost does not Include

All meals, flights to/from destination city, trip insurance, or anything that is not specifically mentioned in the itinerary.

Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of participants registered, the trip can still run with a small-group supplement fee per person determined by the number of participants.

Single Supplement

If a single room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $180 will be assessed.

Deposit Requirements

A $500 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.

Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of required participants are registered, we may still be able to run the trip by adding a small-group supplement fee, per person, determined by the number of participants registered.

How to Book

In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.

Final Payment

For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.

For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.

NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.


We are in one location for the 3 nights, at a comfortable clean standard hotel with ensuite facilities.

Activity Level

Activity Level Rating: (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)

A reasonable degree of fitness is required. Expect to walk 2-5 miles each day. Terrain is mostly flat, with occasional trails that are pebbles, sandy beaches, or uneven woodland paths. We are situated at or near sea level.

Additional Information

Recommended Field Guide

The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of  North America (2nd Edition, 2016, Knopf)
by David Allen Sibley

– also available as The Sibley eGuide to Birds App covers all of North America.


Climate / Weather

Springtime along the Delaware bayshore. Rain is certainly possible at any time. Average high temperatures are in the mid-70’s, with low’s in mid 50’s.

Purchasing Flights

Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.

Detailed Trip Information

Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.

Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.

Travel Insurance

As with all tours, we highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to cover your investment. Please see our section on Travel Insurance.

Passport & Visa

US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.

Participants arriving to the USA from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.

Itinerary Changes

The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.

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