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 February 2014
Th 6 Feb 2014 survey
Th 6 Feb 2014
On Tuesday 4 Feb 2014 Dan Ashford motored me out then joined me for the waterfowl/shorebirdsurvey onBullsIsland. My eBird report is appended below. It was cold and breezy Tuesday--wished I'd worn warmer clothes, but since I was out birding it was all good. About two weeks ago one riser board in the trunk connecting Jack's to the bay and another riser board in the trunk connecting Upper Summerhouse Pond to the marsh were removed; both impoundments are still draining and the water level in each has dropped very slightly but noticeably. Salinity measurements show Jack's about on target (14.0 ppt), Upper Summerhouse Pond a bit higher than desired (11.9 ppt), and all other impoundments being essentially fresh water (<= 1 ppt) [accepting Moccasin Pond that continues to receive salt water intrusions on astronomically high spring tides, according to Dan].
Highlight bird of the day must go to the four Canvasback in Jack's Creek. I'd seen Canvasback there on Monday 13 Jan 2014 while conducting the USF&WS midwinter waterfowlsurvey, and that was the first time in many years that I'd seen any Canvasback at all on Bulls (so long ago that I can't remember when that was--maybe decades.) Now we've gotten them officially on our waterfowl/shorebirdsurvey! [Were they seen on thesurvey prior to my joining in Dec 2011? I've not looked at the data.] Hope they hang around for the rest of the winter.
Waterfowl on Bulls continue in relatively good numbers this winter, the best showing that I've seen in many years. Hopefully the actual numbers (when I get some time to look at them) will support this impression. There were good counts of Northern Shoveler (57) Northern Pintails (23) , Redheads (240), Lesser Scaup (766), Buffleheads (136), and Ruddy Ducks (437). Other species of note include a good flock of Black-crowned Night-Herons (44), Piping Plover (2), Killdeer (43--they seem to be everywhere I look since our recent frozen precipitation event), Wilson's Snipe (11) and Forester's Terns (141). We tallied 78 species in total for the day's outing including 51 target species.
Interestingly the north beach continues to disappoint this winter. The only shorebirds present during Tuesday's survey were Ruddy Turnstone (2) and Sanderling (6); otherwise there were only a few flyby Double-crested Cormorant (12), Lesser Scaup (12), a single Black Scoter (plus a recently deceased and Black Scoter), and a small contingent of gulls and terns (11 individuals, total). The beaches at Price's Inlet were also nearly completely void of birds. (I surveyed that SW end of the island specifically for the statewide shorebirdsurveythat just concluded.)
I did spend a few minutes looking for the recently reported White-crowned Pigeon and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher but without success. Mammals seen included Fox Squirrel (3), White-tailed Deer (3), and Raccoon (1). Oh...and there may be canines on the island; tracks resembling canine tracks have been seen and are being scrutinized as possibly from coyote or fox. No sightings of actual canines yet. [The Red Wolves currently at the See Wee Visitors' Center don't count, and the Red Wolf breeding program hasn't operated on Bulls for several years.]
The high tide on Thursday 20 Feb 2014 will be 4.6 ft at 10:44 AM. That will be our target date for the nextsurvey, so stay tuned for a confirmatory email with those plans.
Cape Romain NWR--BullsIsland, Charleston, US-SC Feb 4, 2014 7:50 AM - 4:46 PM Protocol: Traveling 25.999 mile(s) Comments: Conducting the ongoing BullsIslandwaterfowl/shorebirdsurvey with Dan Ashworth. Effort: 4.15 mi (one way) and 40 min by boat plus 18.5 mi and 2 hr by vehicle plus 3.37 mi and 6 hr 16 min by foot Weather: heavy overcast, windy, and cold with a trace of rain; temps 48 F to 53 F; winds NE at 10 mpg with gusts to 20 mph. High tide (forecast to be 5.15 ft) was at 11:13 AM. <br />Submitted from BirdLog NA for iOS, version 1.6.3 78 species (+1 other taxa) Gadwall 63 American Black Duck 14 Observed in different locations and times. Seen both floating and in flight. Mottled Duck 2 Blue-winged Teal 6 Northern Shoveler 57 Northern Pintail 23 Green-winged Teal 20 Canvasback 4 Redhead 240 A conservative estimate. Greater Scaup 1 Stood out from many Lesser Scaup with very bright white plumage on sides when floating and for very rounded head in profile. Lesser Scaup 766 Widespread around the island. Black Scoter 1 Bufflehead 136 Seen across the island and in the marshes behind the island. Hooded Merganser 11 Red-breasted Merganser 12 Ruddy Duck 437 Multiple groupings counted. duck sp. 7 Seen in flight at distance. Common Loon 1 Pied-billed Grebe 17 Horned Grebe 20 A fairly accurate count. Double-crested Cormorant 36 Anhinga 1 American White Pelican 40 A conservative count. Brown Pelican 11 Great Blue Heron 12 Great Egret 14 Snowy Egret 18 Little Blue Heron 9 Tricolored Heron 6 Black-crowned Night-Heron 44 Apparently flushed out of Jack's Creek along the oceanfront dike. White Ibis 91 Turkey Vulture 7 Osprey 3 Northern Harrier 2 Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 Bald Eagle 1 1 imm. Sora 1 Common Gallinule 9 American Coot 132 American Oystercatcher 9 Grey Plover 24 Semipalmated Plover 12 Piping Plover 2 None had obvious leg bands. Killdeer 43 Spotted Sandpiper 1 Greater Yellowlegs 66 A fairly accurate count. Willet 1 Lesser Yellowlegs 1 Ruddy Turnstone 2 Sanderling 7 Dunlin 864 Fewer than often seen. Western Sandpiper 8 Short-billed Dowitcher 50 Wilson's Snipe 11 Bonaparte's Gull 3 Ring-billed Gull 45 Herring Gull 9 Forster's Tern 141 Flying in loose flocks all over Jack's Creek. Royal Tern 1 Rock Dove (Domestic type) 2 Mourning Dove 5 Belted Kingfisher 11 Red-bellied Woodpecker 1 Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 2 Eastern Phoebe 1 Blue Jay 2 Tree Swallow 66 Carolina Wren 1 Eastern Bluebird 6 American Robin 2 Northern Mockingbird 2 Common Starling 1 American Pipit 2 Cedar Waxwing 185 A conservative estimate as I saw flocks of 20 to over 100 all around the island. Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 53 Song Sparrow 3 Swamp Sparrow 1 Northern Cardinal 6 Red-winged Blackbird 22 View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S16801609 This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)