Come Visit Bombay, And You'll Be Hooked

A few years ago Smyrna, Delaware was voted one of the top
"small towns" in America. When you visit the town, it's very
easy to see why. Smyrna has a home-town feel to it. Even
though it has a fairly small poulation, it is very
accessible. One of the popular attractions is the Bombay
Hook National Wildlife Refuge. The Wild Life Refuge is
within 1 1/2- 2 hour drive from Philadelphia, Baltimore, and
the South Jesey area.

Been there, done that... and visited other wildlife refuges?
This is not your ordinary place to view wildlife. Bombay
Hook plays a critical role for thousands of migratory and
waterfowl birds. Every year over 17,000 visitors come to
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge to view wildlife, in
their natural environment.

Bombay Hook has a very interesting story. It was established
and purchased with Duck Stamp revenues from the Migratory
Bird Conservation Fund. It is a major link in the chain of
refuges that extends from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
There are millions of ducks and geese that use the refuge as
a stop-over or as a place to ride out the winter.

Although the refuge is open year-round, the best time to see
this spectacular site is in October and November. This is
the time that the waterfowl populations are at their peak.
There is also another smaller spike in the population which
occurs in March. This is when the birds are returning to
their northern breeding grounds. The refuge is first and
foremost a breeding ground for migrating birds and other
wildlife. Bombay Hook has become extremely important for the
protection and conservation of waterfowl.This is due to
urban and industrial development.

The refuge covers approximately 16,000 acres. About
four-fifths of it consists of tidal salt marshes. One of
the largest areas of nearly "natural" tidal salt marsh in
the mid-Atlantic region resides within the refuge.
Additionally, Bombay Hook has 1,100 acres of impounded fresh
water pools, 1,100 acres of agricultural lands, with wooded
and grassy land and swamps. The general terrain is flat and
less than ten feet above sea level. So bring a good camera
and pair of binoculars, because the views are breathtaking.

Take the auto tour to get as close to nature as possible
without scaring the birds and animals away. The Auto Route
is only a 12-mile round trip. The tour route passes by the
four freshwater impoundments.There is plenty of room to to
stop and view the always-present water birds and animals
that are feeding or resting. Depending on the season,
visitors can easily spend a half-day or more traveling the
tour route. There are even some trails that you can walk on.
The best times for observation are early and late in the day
when wildlife is most active.

There is nothing like the spectacle of seeing and hearing
thousands of snow geese coming in for a landing. With one
small exception, the road will accommodate tour buses and
RV's. To really get the most out of Bombay Hook, consider
picking up the cassette tape narrating the auto tour that is
available from the Visitors center. Keep your eyes peeled
along the side of the road. Watch for wading birds, like
herons and egrets which feed on the fish in the ponds and
ditches, which line the tour route.

As many as 315 bird species have been counted on the refuge.
One of the more interesting and rare birds to see here is
the bald eagle. If you are lucky, you may get a chance to
see one of these magnificent birds. You can't miss a mature
eagle with it's snow white head. There is no mistaking an
eagle when it flies. It's probably one of the most graceful
things you will ever witness. It very amazing when you
realize just how large this bird really is. Bombay Hook is
the perfect place for the symbol of our country to call
home. The salt marshes are ideal and those fish are an
important source of food for many birds, including bald
eagles and their young.

For a little variety, the 250 year old Allee House is open
to visitors on the weekend during the spring and fall. This
historic house is in the process of being restored. It's a
excellent example of an 18th century farmhouse in this

If that's not enough to keep you busy, the Friends of Bombay
Hook (a non-profit group) offers many activities year-round.
These include field trips, workshops for the whole family,
and presentations by leaders in different environmental

Whether you are a nature person, or just looking for
something fun and different to do on your vacation, Bombay
Hook is a great place to spend time and learn. The Refuge is
open daily from Sunrise to Sunset.

About the Author

Ernest C. Lancaster is excited about Airfare and
is the owner of Everything About Airfare

Ernest C. Lancaster