Birding observations from the ongoing USF&WS Cape Romain NWR Bulls Island waterfowl/shorebird survey, from Christmas and Spring Bird Counts, and from other surveys and outings.
06 December 2013
Fri 6 Dec 2013 survey
F 6 Dec 2013
Dan Ashworth (UF&WS biologist) got me out and back to BullsIsland today and helped me perform thewaterfowl/shorebirdsurvey. We had beautiful, shirt-sleeve weather all day. Thanks much, Dan, for all your help today.
My eBird report for the whole day's outing is appended, below, FYI. We tallied 42 target species on thesurvey proper, 67 species overall. Interesting sightings, at least to me, included Northern Pintails, Greater Scaup, high numbers of Ruddy Ducks, a pair of mature Bald Eagles, Piping Plover (one, no bands or flags), Black-necked Stilts (two in Jack's Creek), Bonapart's Gulls, and a large flock (est. 700) of Common Grackles. We also tallied more American White Pelicans than Brown Pelicans. I also had brief views of both Seaside Sparrows and Saltmarsh Sparrows.
Duck species NOT seen included Gadwall, American Wigeon, Blue-winged Teal, and Green-winged Teal. I'm also still looking for my first-of-season (FOS) Northern Gannets.
Non-avian species seen included fox squirrels, a yellow-bellied slider turtle, a not-yet-identified frog, monarch butterflies, gulf fritillary butterflies, zebra longwing butterfly, sulfur butterflies, and (of course) alligators.
Looking forward to the next survey, the most favorable tides appear to fall on Monday 23 Dec 2013 (4.8 ft high tide forecast at 11:01 AM) and Tuesday 24 Dec 2013 (4.7 ft high tide forecast at 11:45 AM). That may prove to be a bit too close to Christmas to get out to the island (even the USF&WS folks have limits to their gracious efforts in hauling me out to the island), so don't count on that survey yet.
Beyond that, the next favorable tides appear to fall on Sun 5 Jan 2014 (5.7 ft high tide forecast at 1047 AM) and Mon 6 Jan 2014 (5.4 ft high tide forecast at 11:41 AM). The annual Charleston Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is scheduled for Sun 5 Jan 2014. For that CBC I will be leading one group on the south end of Bulls and there will be another group counting on the north end of the island. If I can recruit my fellow CBC counters, I may try to overlay our waterfowl/shorebirdsurvey on the CBC count.
As a brief promo announcement, check out the Coastal Expeditions special charter tour into the north end ofBulls Bay and the Cape Romain NWR to look for Long-billed Curlews this Sunday 8 Dec 2013 from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM and leaving out of McClellanville. (See: http://www.bullsislandferry.com/index.php?page=CurlewTour.) On this same outing on Sun 27 Oct 2013 we tallied 5 Long-billed Curlews! If you want to see LBCUs, this is the place to look for them. There's also very high likelihood of seeing several other interesting avian species on this tour.
Go out and participate in some of the upcoming CBCs! (I'm planning on counting in eight.) Good birding!
Cape Romain NWR--BullsIsland, Charleston, US-SC Dec 6, 2013 8:20 AM - 4:50 PM Protocol: Traveling 18.15 mile(s) Comments: Conducting the ongoing BullsIslandwaterfowl/shorebirdsurvey with USF&WS biologist Dan Ashworth. Effort: 4.15 mi (one way) and 45 min by boat plus 10.7 mi and 2 hr by vehicle plus 3.3 mi and 5 hr 45 min by foot. Weather: mostly clear, sunny, and warm; temps 65 °F to 73 °F; winds were SW at 10 mph to 20 mph with gusts to 25 mph. 67 species American Black Duck 7 Mallard 2 Northern Pintail 4 Redhead 1 Greater Scaup 1 Scope views in good light. Seen in the company of many Lesser Scaup. Head was strikingly green, especially compared to Lesser Scaup; head shape was distinctly rounded compared to Lesser Scaup. Lesser Scaup 175 Bufflehead 126 Scope views. Hooded Merganser 218 Scope views. Several large flocks in differing locations. Ruddy Duck 217 Scope views. Several large flocks in differing locations. Pied-billed Grebe 6 Horned Grebe 10 Wood Stork 5 Double-crested Cormorant 24 American White Pelican 8 Brown Pelican 1 Great Blue Heron 7 Great Egret 13 Snowy Egret 32 Little Blue Heron 4 Tricolored Heron 18 Black-crowned Night-Heron 1 White Ibis 123 Many mature and many immature in multiple locations. Turkey Vulture 7 Osprey 2 Northern Harrier 1 Bald Eagle 2 Red-shouldered Hawk 1 Clapper Rail 6 Common Gallinule 4 American Coot 40 Black-necked Stilt 1 Scope views of two BNST in Jack's Creek. Unmistakable. American Oystercatcher 70 Grey Plover 43 Semipalmated Plover 12 Piping Plover 1 No leg bands or flags. Killdeer 3 Greater Yellowlegs 8 Willet 14 Lesser Yellowlegs 6 Marbled Godwit 2 Ruddy Turnstone 28 Scope views on the beach and in the ocean-front marsh at Jack's Creek. Sanderling 21 Mostly seen on the north beach. Dunlin 1407 A conservative estimation. Western Sandpiper 104 Most in large mixed flock of shorebirds. Short-billed Dowitcher 5 Wilson's Snipe 8 Bonaparte's Gull 7 Laughing Gull 7 Ring-billed Gull 2 Herring Gull 1 Forster's Tern 20 Mourning Dove 13 Belted Kingfisher 7 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 2 Grey Catbird 1 Northern Mockingbird 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 3 Eastern Towhee 1 Savannah Sparrow 1 Saltmarsh Sparrow 1 Seaside Sparrow 4 Song Sparrow 2 Swamp Sparrow 4 Northern Cardinal 1 Red-winged Blackbird 21 Common Grackle 700 Boat-tailed Grackle 1 View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S15880167 This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)