20 March 2014

Th 20 Mar 2014 survey

Th 20 Mar 2014


   Pat Campbell and Cherrie Sneed helped me today with the ongoing Bulls Island waterfowl/shorebird survey. We had a great day to be on the island (I wouldn't recognize a bad day to be on Bulls if it introduced itself to me) and enjoyed saluting the spring equinox today at 12:57 PM. The Coastal Expeditions folks, Chris Crolley, Gates Roll, new naturalist Olivia, and new captain whose name I can't recall (apologies!), treated us very well. They had large numbers of customers plus a charter group today, so they were busy.

   Waterfowl remain in good numbers across the island, though there were a few misses compared to recent outings, including American Wigeon, Hooded Mergansers, Redhead, and Canvasback. We were challenged to tally shorebirds today as a team of S.C. DNR biologists had set up a cannon net on the low dune line at the oceanfront marsh at Jack's Creek in an attempt to net, band, and release shorebirds. Fortunately for our count many of the shorebirds appeared to be pushed up and down the beach where we were able see many of them. There were a few Piping Plovers remaining; of the many Dunlin seen, a very few were beginning to show the first signs of body molt into breeding plumage. We also tallied the FOS Wilson's Plover (North Beach) and Black-necked Stilts (in Upper Summerhouse Pond). Best sighting of the day may have been a tight raft of 57 Red-breasted Mergansers (including only about 5 males with the rest females) on Jack's Creek. My eBird check list for the outing is appended below, FYI.

   Non avian sightings on the day included several bottle-nosed dolphin in Bulls Bay, two fox squirrels (one on Sheepshead Ridge Road going to the observation platform plus one on Mill Road behind the Lower Summerhouse Pond), and numerous canine tracks in the dunes along the North Beach (just tracks, no actual canines sighted). Back on Tuesday 4 Mar 2014 it was too cold for the alligators to be out but they were out in high numbers today. After all..it was the spring equinox.

   Dan, the water level gauge data on Jack's Creek (4.34) and Upper Summerhouse Pond (3.68) are up just a bit from two weeks ago (4.18 and 3.36, respectively). USHP didn't look as dour as you suggested it might; most of the discoloration, to my eye, was in the southwestern-most corner where the dike meets the tree line going towards Mill Road.

   Looking at the tide calendar suggests the following dates to consider for the next survey:

Tu 1 Apr 2014 high tide 5.4 ft at 9:45 AM
W 2 Apr 2014 high tide 5.2 ft at 10:30 AM
Th 3 Apr 2014 high tide 4.9 ft at 11:15 AM

Stay tuned for further plans.



Cape Romain NWR--Bulls Island, Charleston, US-SC
Mar 20, 2014 8:40 AM - 4:40 PM
Protocol: Traveling
17.6 mile(s)
Comments:     Conducting the ongoing Bulls Island waterfowl/shorebird survey. Effort: 4.15 mi and 1 hr by ferry plus 11.4 mi and 2 hr by vehicle plus 2.1 mi and 5 hr by foot. Weather: sunny and cool; temps 48 F to 68 F: AM winds W to NW at 5 mph with gusts to 10 mph, PM winds SE at 5 mph with gusts to 10 mph.  <br />Submitted from BirdLog NA for iOS, version 1.6.3
74 species

Gadwall  5
American Black Duck  4
Mottled Duck  11
Blue-winged Teal  52
Northern Shoveler  130     All over the island.
Northern Pintail  1
Green-winged Teal  55     Mostly in Upper Summerhouse Pond.
Lesser Scaup  9
Black Scoter  25     A fly-by line plus several floating beyond the breakers.
Bufflehead  47     Few than expected.
Hooded Merganser  6
Red-breasted Merganser  61     Mainly in one tight raft of 57 on Jack's Pond; seen in good light, counted this raft twice to assure accuracy. .
Ruddy Duck  68     Fewer than expected.
Red-throated Loon  2
Common Loon  4
Pied-billed Grebe  52     Many seen all over the island.
Horned Grebe  9     1 on Jack's Creek, the rest in Bulls Bay.
Wood Stork  1
Double-crested Cormorant  119
American White Pelican  26
Brown Pelican  52
Great Blue Heron  17
Great Egret  28
Snowy Egret  41
Little Blue Heron  3
Tricolored Heron  5
Black-crowned Night-Heron  16
White Ibis  82
Glossy Ibis  14
Turkey Vulture  10
Northern Harrier  2
Bald Eagle  1
Clapper Rail  1
Common Gallinule  16
American Coot  210     A fairly reasonable count estimate.
Black-necked Stilt  2
American Oystercatcher  29
Grey Plover  7
Wilson's Plover  2
Semipalmated Plover  55
Piping Plover  3     None appeared to have leg bands.
Killdeer  12
Greater Yellowlegs  5
Willet  10
Lesser Yellowlegs  10
Marbled Godwit  1
Ruddy Turnstone  8
Red Knot  2
Sanderling  90     Mostly in a mixed flock with Dunlin.
Dunlin  1000     Seen in two separate, large flights.
Western Sandpiper  3
Short-billed Dowitcher  101     1 on the North Beach, the rest estimated from 1 large bind that flushed from the edge if the ICWW and that flew to a nearby dock for high tide roosting.
Bonaparte's Gull  2
Laughing Gull  14
Ring-billed Gull  20
Herring Gull  15
Forster's Tern  55
Mourning Dove  3
Belted Kingfisher  3
Blue Jay  2
Tree Swallow  40
Barn Swallow  7
Carolina Wren  1
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher  3
American Robin  1
Northern Mockingbird  4
Northern Parula  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  24
Eastern Towhee  1
Savannah Sparrow  4
Song Sparrow  1
Swamp Sparrow  2
Red-winged Blackbird  80
Boat-tailed Grackle  5

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S17528861

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

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