18 April 2014

Fri 18 Apr 2014 survey

Fri 18 Apr 2014


   Rob Dillon and I conducted today's waterfowl/shorebird survey on Bulls Island. The winds were howling out of the NE keeping the tides high and making me glad that I was wearing my winter coat. Coastal Expeditions owner (and Captain, today) Chris Crolley, Captain Richard, and Naturalist/First Mate Olivia graciously hauled us out to the island and back. We had a FULL ferry on the ride out, the maximum number of bodies that the ferry was licensed to carry! Very glad that we were able to legally catch our ride out. Many thanks, CEX!

   The bird of the day has to have been a Pectoral Sandpiper seen on the Upper Summerhouse Pond. I've never recorded a Pectoral Sandpiper on Bulls before. eBird lists three reports for "Cape Romain NWR -- Bull Island:" 10 from 30 July 2001, 1 from 29 April 2002, and 3 from 25 August 2003, all reported by Jim Cubie. I suspect that these reports predate this survey, so possibly a new species for the survey

   Ducks that remain included 1 Green-winged Teal and 2 Red-breasted Mergansers (both seen just outside of the official count area), Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, Blue-winged Teal, and Black Scoter (including one on Jack's Creek). We had 2 Horned Grebes in the Bulls Bay marshes (1 HOGR in winter plumage and 1 well into breeding plumage).

   Shorebirds included many Black-necked Stilt, American Oystercatcher, Whimbrel(just outside of the count area), and Red Knot. We also had a pair of Caspian Terns, a Sandwich Tern, Bonaparte's Gulls, and Gull-billed Terns (again, just outside of the count area).

   Notable misses included: Northern Shoveler, Pied-billed Grebe, Wood Stork, American White Pelican, Great Blue Heron, Wilson's Plover, and Piping Plover. Our eBird checklist is appended, below. 42 target species, 69 species on the whole day.

   Non avian sightings included bottle-nosed dolphin, the caterpillar stage of a Black Swallowtail butterfly (I think), and 2 fox squirrels (Mill Road just S of Beach Road). Since Rob is a malacologist, he went looking for fresh water snails (his main interest). He was very pleased to find a tiny little limpet (Ferrissia fragile), and a tiny snail called Physa carolinae(Wethington, Wise, and Dillon 2009). That means that he found the snail species that he and his colleagues first described and, thus, named! Pretty cool!

   Looking at the tidal calendar suggests the following favorable date for our next survey:

Fri 2 May 2014 (high tide of 4.7 ft at 10:47 AM)

Stay tuned for further plans.



Cape Romain NWR--Bulls Island, Charleston, US-SC
Apr 18, 2014 8:30 AM - 4:15 PM
Protocol: Traveling
17.5 mile(s)
Comments:     Conducting the ongoing Bulls Island waterfowl/shorebird survey. Effort: 4.15 mi (one way) and 60 min by ferry plus 11.6 mi and 2 hr by truck plus 1.75 mi and 4 hr 45 min by foot. Weather: overcast, cool, and windy; temps 55 F to 62 F; strong and steady winds NE at 10 mph to 20 mph with PM gusts to 25 mph.  <br />Submitted from BirdLog NA for iOS, version 1.6.3
69 species (+2 other taxa)

Canada Goose  5
Mottled Duck  9
Blue-winged Teal  80
Green-winged Teal  1     Scope view.
Lesser Scaup  4
Black Scoter  3     1 female on Jack's Creek (compared directly and side by side with a Ruddy Duck) plus 2 (1 male plus 1 female) in the breakers off the North Beach.
Bufflehead  6     Scope views on Jack's Creek.
Red-breasted Merganser  2
Ruddy Duck  2     One side by side comparison with a female Black Scoter.
duck sp.  13
Horned Grebe  2     In Bulls Bay marshes. One still in winter plumage, one well into breeding plumage.
Double-crested Cormorant  90     One large flock in ICWW plus many scattered across Jack's Creek.
Anhinga  1
Brown Pelican  19
Great Egret  4
Snowy Egret  19
Little Blue Heron  1
Tricolored Heron  17
Green Heron  2
Black-crowned Night-Heron  5
White Ibis  50
Glossy Ibis  23
Turkey Vulture  5
Osprey  2
Northern Harrier  1     1 fem
Bald Eagle  1     1 mat
Sora  1
Common Gallinule  11
American Coot  3
Black-necked Stilt  28     Most in Upper Summerhouse Pond.
American Oystercatcher  21     In Bulls Bay marshes and around Jack's Creek.
Grey Plover  21
Semipalmated Plover  28
Killdeer  1
Spotted Sandpiper  1
Greater Yellowlegs  1
Willet  18
Lesser Yellowlegs  46
Whimbrel  16
Ruddy Turnstone  28     In beachfront marsh and beachfront.
Red Knot  12
Sanderling  119
Dunlin  326
Pectoral Sandpiper  1     Scope view.
Western Sandpiper  1
peep sp.  5     Peeps at great distance.
Short-billed Dowitcher  88
Bonaparte's Gull  2
Laughing Gull  24
Ring-billed Gull  23
Herring Gull  4
Gull-billed Tern  2
Caspian Tern  2
Forster's Tern  35
Royal Tern  64
Sandwich Tern  1
Mourning Dove  2
Belted Kingfisher  3
Great Crested Flycatcher  1
Eastern Kingbird  1
Tree Swallow  400     Widely scattered across all impoundments, most across Upper Summerhouse Pond.
Barn Swallow  2
Marsh Wren  2
Northern Mockingbird  1
Northern Parula  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  4     Molting into breeding plumage.
Savannah Sparrow  2
Northern Cardinal  1
Indigo Bunting  2
Red-winged Blackbird  100
Boat-tailed Grackle  20

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S17952604

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

03 April 2014

Th 3 Apr 2014 survey

Th 3 Apr 2014


   Rich McCracken and I conducted the ongoing Bulls Island waterfowl/shorebird survey today. Captain Dan and First Mate/Naturalist Olivia of the Coastal Expeditions Ferry Caretta graciously hauled us over to the island and back and set us up with "ground transportation" on the island. CEX's naturalist Gates also helped us with a snake ID (a "Florida cottonmouth" that we saw on the dike at Jack's Creek just past the turnoff to the North Beach).

   We had 42 target species on the survey proper, 76 species on the whole day's outing (eBird checklist appended). Many of the waterfowl species have flown onward while a few of the shorebirds were showing early signs of body molt into breeding plumage. Highlight species included American Bittern, Swallow-tailed Kite (flying over the North Beach), Black-necked Stilt, high numbers of Black-bellied Plover (aka "Grey Plover" as eBird insists on calling them), Wilson's Plover, Red Knot, and Dark-eyed Junco. Misses include Piping Plover, Bald Eagle, Tree Swallow, Carolina Wren, and Yellow-rumped Warbler. A few other summer residents/migrants apparently have not yet shown up including Great-crested Flycatcher, Gull-billed Tern, Least Tern, Black Tern, Ruby-throated Hummingbird; I expect these to arrive soon.

   The water in Jack's has risen (two weeks ago at 4.34, today at 4.83) and now spills over the highest riser board in the trunk. The water in Upper Summerhouse Pond has also risen (two weeks ago at 3.68, today at 4.13) but still has another riser board to climb before it begins spilling. Both of these impoundments still have exposed mud along edges and some shallows favored by some of the shorebirds. All other impoundments are maintaining a relatively high water level by eye. 

   Non-avian species included Fox Squirrel (1 on Mill Road, 1 on Summerhouse Pond Road), American alligator, bottle-nosed dolphin, Florida cottonmouth, a not-yet-identified dragonfly species, and a not-yet-identified frog species. Mosquitos also were waiting in the lee side of the trees and enjoyed riding in the bed of the pick up truck; fortunately the winds were sufficient to keep them mostly hunkered down.

   Looking forward towards the next survey, the tides look favorable on these dates:

Fri 18 Apr 2014 high tide 4.9 ft at 10:30 AM
Sat 19 Apr 2014 high tide 4.8 ft at 11:18 AM

Stay tuned for further plans.



Cape Romain NWR--Bulls Island, Charleston, US-SC
Apr 3, 2014 8:40 AM - 2:15 PM
Protocol: Traveling
13.5 mile(s)
Comments:     Conducting the ongoing Bulls Island waterfowl/shorebird survey. Effort: 4.15 mi (one way) and 45 min by ferry plus 11.5 mi and 2 hr by truck plus 2.0 mi and 5 hr 15 min by foot. Weather: sunny, warm, and windy; temps 64 F to 78 F; AM winds SW at 5 mph to 10 mph, PM winds SW at 15 mph with gusts to 25 mph.  <br />Submitted from BirdLog NA for iOS, version 1.6.3
76 species

American Black Duck  2
Mottled Duck  6
Blue-winged Teal  55
Northern Shoveler  56     Many on Upper Summerhouse Pond.
Green-winged Teal  6
Lesser Scaup  25     On the ocean-front marsh at Jack's Creek.
Black Scoter  10     Excellent scope views of these dark sea ducks floating just beyond the breakers on the North Beach.
Bufflehead  2
Red-breasted Merganser  6
Ruddy Duck  7     On Jack's Creek.
Common Loon  1
Pied-billed Grebe  4
Horned Grebe  6     Mostly in the marshes between the landings.
Wood Stork  7
Double-crested Cormorant  44
Anhinga  4
American White Pelican  1
Brown Pelican  47
American Bittern  1
Great Blue Heron  14
Great Egret  34
Snowy Egret  35
Little Blue Heron  3
Tricolored Heron  8
Green Heron  3
Black-crowned Night-Heron  8
White Ibis  1
Glossy Ibis  17
Black Vulture  4
Turkey Vulture  16
Osprey  1
Swallow-tailed Kite  1
Northern Harrier  3
Clapper Rail  1
Common Gallinule  26
American Coot  60     In many different impoundments.
Black-necked Stilt  9
American Oystercatcher  4
Grey Plover  246     A few showing early body molt into breeding plumage.
Wilson's Plover  8
Semipalmated Plover  4
Killdeer  1
Greater Yellowlegs  12
Willet  73     All across the marshes and the island.
Lesser Yellowlegs  18
Ruddy Turnstone  7
Red Knot  50
Sanderling  18
Dunlin  367     A rare few showing early body molt into breeding plumage.
Short-billed Dowitcher  80
Bonaparte's Gull  1
Laughing Gull  36
Ring-billed Gull  8
Herring Gull  1
Forster's Tern  21
Royal Tern  22
Mourning Dove  4
Belted Kingfisher  5
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Fish Crow  1
Barn Swallow  3
Tufted Titmouse  4
Marsh Wren  4
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher  2
Northern Mockingbird  4
Common Yellowthroat  1
Northern Parula  1
Palm Warbler  1
Pine Warbler  1
Savannah Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  1     Along the dike road directly in front of the truck.
Northern Cardinal  4
Red-winged Blackbird  20
Eastern Meadowlark  3
Boat-tailed Grackle  75

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S17732708

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