Important Bird Areas

Red Clay Valley

Delaware

This site is a mosaic of Piedmont hills, valleys, woodlands, grasslands, protected land, Hoopes Reservoir, the Red Clay Creek and its floodplain, and small, scattered wetlands. The site includes the Ashland Nature Center, Delaware Nature Society's Burrows Run Preserve, and Auburn Heights State Park. Long-term bird surveys have occurred at the Hoopes Reservoir, Ashland Nature Center, and Burrows Run Preserve.

{link:For IBA map, click here.|http://www.audubon.org/bird/iba/usibac/2009_P8/DE3438m_RedClay08.pdf}

Ornithological Summary

- Hoopes Reservoir is an important resting, feeding and roosting area for migratory waterfowl. Estimates of waterfowl numbers at peak migration periods at one time are over 4,700 individuals. This inclues Tundra Swan 1, Canada Goose (migratory) 3500, Wood Duck 13, Mallard (migratory) 17, American Black Duck 27, American Widgeon 2, Northern Pintail 2, Northern Shoveler 3, Canvasback 5, Redhead 6, Ring-necked Duck 700+, Greater Scaup 2, Lesser Scaup 4, Long-tailed Duck 1, Common Goldeneye 2, Bufflehead 21, Common Merganser 375, Hooded Merganser 37, Ruddy Duck 23.
- The first documented record of nesting Sharp-shinned Hawk in Delaware was found at the Ashland Nature Center in 2007. The pair successfully raised 3 young. The Sharp-shinned Hawk is not listed as a Delaware Endangered or Threatened Species becuase it was not known to breed in DE, but it will likely be placed on the list in 2008. (Christopher Hecksher, DNREC, personal communication).
- One Bald Eagle nest is located in the proposed IBA at the Hoopes Reservoir. It has been nesting there since 2006 and remains on the Delaware list of Endangered and Threatened Species.
- Cooper's Hawks are on the increase (personal observation), but the 1983-87 estimate of breeding pairs in DE is 3-30 (Birds of Delaware, 2000). A confirmed nest in 2007 was located at the Burrows Run Preserve. Additional probably nests in 2007 were located at the Mt. Cuba Center, and along Center Meeting Road near the PA border. There are probably at least a few more nests in the proposed IBA area due to tha available habitat. This species remains on the list of Delaware Endangered and Threatened species.
- Northern Parula was a probable nester in 2007 along Red Clay Creek in two locations at the Mt. Cuba Center. There is more available habitat along the Hoopes Reservoir and in a few locations north of Mt. Cuba Center along Red Clay Creek and there may be a few more nesting pairs that are yet undiscovered.

A. This figure, compared to long-term research in the University of Delaware Woodlot (Dr. Roland Roth) show that our estimates may even be low. They have found in just 36 acres, the following numbers of pairs in previous years? '98 --22 '99--13 '00-- 12 '01-- 16 '02-- 17 '03--18 '04--19 '05-- 11 '06--5 '07-- 9 '08--- 12.

Ownership

Ownership is mostly private but with many sites permanently protected under conservation easement. Below are percentages of the approximately 9,500-acre proposed IBA.
- Lands eased by the Brandywine Conservancy, Delaware Nature Society, and other Land Trusts: 11.7%.
- Public Land: 3.9% (Hoopes Reservoir lands and Auburn Heights State Park)
- Other protected land: 0.6%
The majority of protected land is held through private land trusts Delaware Nature Society, City of Wilmington, and Delaware State Parks. All of these properties, except the City of Wilmington Hoopes Reservoir land have full-time land managers in charge of ecological restoration on site. This benfits birds in that management plans take them into consideration with regard to invasive/exotic species control, native reforestation efforts, wetland restoration, mowing schedules conducive to bird nest cycles, etc.