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.
18 April 2014
Fri 18 Apr 2014 survey
Fri 18 Apr 2014
Rob Dillon and I conducted today's waterfowl/shorebirdsurvey on BullsIsland. 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--BullsIsland, Charleston, US-SC Apr 18, 2014 8:30 AM - 4:15 PM Protocol: Traveling 17.5 mile(s) Comments: Conducting the ongoingBullsIslandwaterfowl/shorebirdsurvey. 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 InBullsBay 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 InBullsBay 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 athttp://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S17952604 This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)