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.
23 January 2014
Th 23 Jan 2014 survey
Th 23 Jan 2014
I had a great crew of four help me with this past Tuesday's waterfowl/shorebirdsurvey on BullsIslandincluding Dan Ashworth (who also was responsible for getting us out to the island and back), Matt Johnson, Richard McCracken, and Susan Mitchell (first time helping with the survey).
My eBird report for the day's outing is appended, below. Highlights include Northern Pintail, Redhead (nearly a hundred!), Ruddy Duck (nearly 400!), American White Pelican, Bald Eagle (a friend opines that it's never a bad day's birding when you see a Bald Eagle, and I'd have to agree with that), Sora, American Avocet, Piping Plovers (none with leg bands), and Semipalmated Plover (many hundreds). Missed were the Canvasback and the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (both seen Mon 13 Jan while conducting the mid-winter waterfowl and Bald Eaglesurvey for the USF&WS).
The north beach had very few shorebirds (with only a pair of American Oystercatchers, a pair of Black-bellied Plovers, some Sanderlings, and a small flock of flyby Dunlins) and only a very few other gulls, terns, and scoters. It was only a moderate high tide (forecast to be 4.72 ft) so maybe the tide wasn't high enough to really coral the shorebirds.
Water levels remain relatively high across the impoundments and the salinities are way down. Jack's Creek is at 14.4 ppt, Upper Summerhouse Pond is at 12.0 ppt; all other impoundments were below 1 ppt except for Moccasin Pond which has a direct connection to the ocean and remains salty at 25.3 ppt. I am very pleasantly surprised that the salinities decreased so substantially and so quickly and are apparently being well maintained now. I was convinced that it would take years of effort to remove the salt; live and learn.
Birders have always said "Wait for the cold weather to blow in the winter waterfowl." This idea may be well tested this year given the cold weather that January has produced and that is in the forecast. Who knows what we'll see for the rest of the winter--I can hardly wait to see. Look for another email with plans for our nextsurvey.
Cape Romain NWR--BullsIsland, Charleston, US-SC Jan 21, 2014 8:15 AM - 4:13 PM Protocol: Traveling 18.25 mile(s) Comments: Conducting the ongoing BullsIslandwaterfowl/shorebirdsurvey with Dan Ashworth, Matt Johnson, Richard McCracken, and Susan Mitchell. Effort: 4,15 mi and 20 min by boat plus 11.8 mi and 2 hr by vehicle plus 2.3 mi and 5 hr 10 min by foot. Weather: mostly sunny, cool, and breezy; temps 53 F to 60 F; winds SW at 5 mph with gusts to 15 mph. <br />Submitted from BirdLog NA for iOS, version 1.6.3 78 species (+2 other taxa)
Wood Duck 2 Gadwall 10 American Wigeon 4 American Black Duck 5 Mallard 1 American Black/Mottled Duck 12 Unable to make the distinction. Blue-winged Teal 21 Northern Shoveler 52 Northern Pintail 9 Green-winged Teal 25 Redhead 97 Lesser Scaup 128 Black Scoter 6 Bufflehead 142 Hooded Merganser 99 Red-breasted Merganser 4 Ruddy Duck 383 Pied-billed Grebe 18 Horned Grebe 6 Northern Gannet 3 Double-crested Cormorant 52 Anhinga 3 American White Pelican 20 Brown Pelican 23 Great Blue Heron 3 Great Egret 36 Snowy Egret 29 Little Blue Heron 7 Tricolored Heron 27 White Ibis 232 Turkey Vulture 4 Osprey 2 Northern Harrier 1 Accipiter sp. 1 Bald Eagle 4 2 mat, 1 imm, 1 unknown age Red-tailed Hawk 1 Clapper Rail 1 Sora 2 Common Gallinule 9 American Coot 112 American Avocet 1 American Oystercatcher 11 Grey Plover 40 Semipalmated Plover 700 Piping Plover 3 No leg bands or flags observed Spotted Sandpiper 1 Greater Yellowlegs 23 Willet 33 Lesser Yellowlegs 2 Ruddy Turnstone 46 Sanderling 18 Dunlin 1235 Western Sandpiper 21 Short-billed Dowitcher 6 Wilson's Snipe 2 Bonaparte's Gull 7 Ring-billed Gull 18 Herring Gull 6 Forster's Tern 14 Royal Tern 1 Mourning Dove 10 Belted Kingfisher 8 Red-headed Woodpecker 2 Red-bellied Woodpecker 2 American Crow 3 Tree Swallow 31 House Wren 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1 American Robin 12 Grey Catbird 3 Northern Mockingbird 7 Cedar Waxwing 60 Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 6 Eastern Towhee 4 Song Sparrow 5 Swamp Sparrow 4 White-throated Sparrow 7 Northern Cardinal 5 Red-winged Blackbird 2 Boat-tailed Grackle 1