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.
03 April 2014
Th 3 Apr 2014 survey
Th 3 Apr 2014
Rich McCracken and I conducted the ongoing BullsIslandwaterfowl/shorebirdsurvey 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--BullsIsland, Charleston, US-SC Apr 3, 2014 8:40 AM - 2:15 PM Protocol: Traveling 13.5 mile(s) Comments: Conducting the ongoingBullsIslandwaterfowl/shorebirdsurvey. 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 theisland. 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 athttp://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S17732708 This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)