Th 25 Nov 2021
In recent weeks the waterfowl, wading birds, and shorebirds have been present in good (slightly early?) numbers on Bulls Island, Cape Romain NWR, Charleston Co, SC. Yesterday, Wednesday, on my recurring survey there were so many birds that my survey took much longer to complete because THERE WERE TOO MANY BIRDS TO COUNT! I ended up having to make more rough estimates of numbers, including making several WAGs (wild ass guesses), just so that I could safely boat back to Garris Landing before sunset. The Refuge manager is of the opinion that the waterfowl numbers are the best she's seen in 15 years; without having looked at my data, I may be in full agreement with that assessment.
Most of the waterfowl, as usual, are in Jack's Creek with perhaps half or more being American Coots (conservatively numbering over 2000 yesterday). But the water level in Upper Summerhouse Pond (USP) is down leaving many muddy/sandy shoulders and islands around the Pond that have attracted many ducks, wading birds, and even shorebirds (very uncommonly seen at all in USP because the water is usually higher).
Highlights of recent sightings included Canvasback (1), Ring-necked Ducks, Northern Pintail, Roseate Spoonbills, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Piping Plovers, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, American White Pelicans, and American Black Ducks (3). Also tallied were many of the more usual species including Gadwall, American Wigeon, Ruddy Duck, Hooded Merganser, Bufflehead, Green-winged Teal, and Blue-winged Teal. Interestingly there are very few Lesser Scaup (LESC) tallied recently; normally LESC are fairly abundant in Jack's Creek through the winter months.
A pair of Bald Eagles has returned and occupied a nest; yesterday one was sitting deep down in the nest strongly suggesting either egg laying or egg incubation. Its mate was perched immediately adjacent to the nest. I take that as a good omen for this pair.
Happy Thanksgiving to all, and good birding!