WDEL Blog: Eclectic Hobbies with Allan Loudell

Hurricane Irene's "gift": Exotic oceanic and tropical birds, potentially other exotic critters

No doubt about it. Hurricane Irene has represented a bonanza for Delmarva's birding enthusiasts.

As The NEWS JOURNAL notes in a Page One story Wednesday, many unusual birds were spotted in Delmarva just after Irene blew through, including:

Black terns; Royal terns; immature white ibis; Pomarine jaeger; White-tailed tropicbird; Sooty tern; Band-rumped storm-petrel; Bridled tern; Wilson's storm-petrels; Marbled godwit; Parasitic jaegers; etc.

Cape May has to be a fantastic place as well. At a time when governors are inviting folks to visit beach & shore areas - not nearly as disrupted by Irene as first feared - surely birders have been leading the way.

Unfortunately, the period for many exotic birds dissipates after several days.

I am not a birder, but I can certainly understand the enthusiasm. (I have enough hobbies & avocations already!)

Tropical storms & hurricanes can also deliver moths, butterflies, and other critters from more Southern regions. Unlike the birds, they tend to stay!

Just as well for me, since I worked long hours Sunday, and obviously have been unable to take off in the middle of the week. So I'm looking forward to this weekend!

Posted at 10:57am on August 31, 2011 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Tue, Sep 6, 2011 10:29am
Irene delivered a "potentially exotic critter" to our house...but not the lovely avian creatures you mentioned.

We were in Cape May this past week, didn't visit any of the nature preserves, though, where we may have spotted some of the visiting birds. When we returned to PA, I discovered a brown recluse spider in my bathtub. I'd just stepped in to shower, and honestly, I'd rather have taken my chances with Norman Bates at that point because the spider was darn near indestructible.

I turned the shower jets on to the hottest water, thinking it would drown, and it did curl up into a ball, but as soon as I turned the jets off, it unfurled back to its normal state and attempted to escape. Finally got the thing into a bucket of hot water after I'd repeatedly smashed it with a broom. I dumped 3/4 of a bottle of hydrogen peroxide into the bucket, thinking that the spider would be poisoned even if it had survived the hot water jets, the broom beating, and the glob of Pantene shampoo/conditioner I'd dumped on it.

When I got it together to go back outside to dump the dead critter, I couldn't believe that the body had unfurled again to an almost perfect state. Wondering if it were still alive, I poked it with a stick, it just bobbed around and ended up floating on its back. At this point I noticed one of its legs was missing, floating nearby in the bucket. I dumped it onto a little patch of lawn in the back, but was left with an unsettled feeling that it was only playing dead. I probably should have hammered the bleep out of it or at least hit it with a flamethrower, just to be sure.

My coworkers make fun of me because I'm the one who captures little spiders to set them outside rather than stepping on them or blasting them with pesticide spray. I've even captured a wasp that was terrorizing a male coworker, and brought it back to the great outdoors. But brown recluse spiders are no joke, I know a woman who was bit by one and suffered longterm adverse reactions. I don't know if the storm drove the spider into my house, but it was the first time I've encountered one of those insects and truly hope it is the last.

Fri, Sep 16, 2011 9:32am

Fri, Sep 16, 2011 9:37am

(code fail. Tried to upload brown recluse spider pic.)

My boyfriend told me the insect I slaughtered may have not been the venomous spider - he said there are really close facsimiles, and that the only way to know for sure is the "violin" that appears on the underbelly of the critter.

Allan Loudell
Fri, Sep 16, 2011 12:34pm
Your boyfriend's correct. Many brown recluse "reports" end up being incorrect!

Fri, Sep 16, 2011 2:08pm
Oh no - you mean I may have offed an innocent arachnid? Now I have to live with that on my conscience.

That's what I get for profiling...

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