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 May 2014
Fri 16 May 2014 survey
Sun 18 May 2014
This Friday past (16 May 2014) Kathy Greider and Grant Greider joined me on BullsIsland for the ongoingwaterfowl/shorebirdsurvey. We caught the 9:00 AM CEX ferry out; Captain Richard Stuhr and First Mate/Naturalist Olivia graciously hauled us out to the island and back through an exceptionally low tide. I saw exposed mudflats where I knew them to be but had never before seen them. Captain Richard passed that "trial by fire" (maybe better "trial by low water") with aplomb. CEX had a busy day beyond the scheduled regular ferry service with a chartered school group and their monthly weekend overnight customers.
We were able to share scope views of our last two birds on the day (simultaneously some of our best birds of the day) on Upper Summerhouse Pond with the overnighters: Ruddy Ducks (2 males in breeding plumage plus 1 female--I now know why they're AKA blue bills) and a Greater Scaup (female). Other notable sightings included an American Black Duck (distinctly violet speculum lacking any white borders and overall very dark), FOS Black Terns, many hundreds of Royal Terns and Black Skimmers, Black Scoters, Red-breasted Mergansers, many Anhingas, Red Knot, and all three peep sandpipers.
Both Jack's Creek and Upper Summerhouse Pond are maintaining high water levels and, therefore, few shorebirds. The newly opened inlet at the oceanfront marsh at Jack's Creek remains and is keeping that water low, however the shorebirds there were not as numerous as usual.
Non avian sightings on the day included bottle-nosed dolphin, fox squirrel (1 along Summerhouse Pond Road), many dragonflies, and the usual bevy of American alligators. Recently reported avian species that we did not see included Roseate Spoonbill and Reddish Egret (we'll look again next survey). We also missed seeing Bald Eagle. :-( My eBird checklist on the day's outing is appended, below, FYI.
Looking ahead at the tide calendar suggests the following dates for our next survey:
Friday 30 May 2014 high tide 4.7 ft at 9:38 AM
Saturday 31 May 2014 high tide 4.5 ft at 10:20 AM
Monday 2 June 2014 high tide 4.3 ft at 11:47 AM
Tuesday 3 June 2014 high tide 4.3 ft at 12:33 PM
Stay tuned for further plans.
Cape Romain NWR--BullsIsland, Charleston, US-SC May 16, 2014 8:35 AM - 3:35 PM Protocol: Traveling 16.249 mile(s) Comments: Conducting the ongoingBullsIslandwaterfowl/shorebirdsurvey. Effort: 4.15 mi (one way) and 30 min by ferry plus 9.0 mi and 2 hr by vehicle plus 3.1 mi and 4 hr 30 min by foot. Weather: fully overcast early very quickly clearing to partly cloudy then to mostly clear; 58 F to 73 F; winds NW at 10 mph with gusts to 15 mph then shifting about 2:00 PM to S winds at 10 mph to 20 mph. High tide was forecast 5.0 ft at 9:28 AM, low tide -0.5 ft at 3:37 PM. <br />Submitted from BirdLog NA for iOS, version 1.6.3 70 species (+1 other taxa) American Black Duck 1 Very dark, speculum strongly violet rather than blue, no white margins to speculum. Mottled Duck 14 Greater Scaup 1 Female, scope view, well rounded head, fat (puffy) cheeks when in back profile. Black Scoter 15 Scope views just off the back side of theislandintoBullsBay. Red-breasted Merganser 3 In the salt water marshes ofBullsBay between landings. A group of 2 plus a singlet seen. Ruddy Duck 3 2 males in breeding plumage plus 1 female. Scope views shared with many. Double-crested Cormorant 13 Anhinga 11 American White Pelican 2 Brown Pelican 18 Least Bittern 3 Great Blue Heron 4 Great Egret 24 Snowy Egret 50 Little Blue Heron 1 Tricolored Heron 13 Green Heron 7 Black-crowned Night-Heron 4 White Ibis 48 Glossy Ibis 6 Black Vulture 1 Turkey Vulture 4 Osprey 4 Clapper Rail 1 Common Gallinule 12 Black-necked Stilt 26 Fairly accurate count. American Oystercatcher 6 Grey Plover 11 Wilson's Plover 4 Semipalmated Plover 61 Spotted Sandpiper 1 Greater Yellowlegs 10 Willet 28 Whimbrel 24 Mostly in theBullsBay marshes. Marbled Godwit 1 Ruddy Turnstone 16 Clear scope views, unmistakable plumage patterns. Red Knot 75 Scope views. Dunlin 110 A likely under count. Most well into breeding plumage. Least Sandpiper 4 Semipalmated Sandpiper 45 Western Sandpiper 2 peep sp. 40 Unable to distinguish between Western Sandpiper and Semipalmated Sandpiper as these flushed to wing at distance before full ID. Short-billed Dowitcher 39 Laughing Gull 64 Ring-billed Gull 3 Herring Gull 1 Least Tern 21 Gull-billed Tern 4 Black Tern 10 Forster's Tern 14 Royal Tern 772 Estimated 700 resting beachfront. Several pairs observed mating. Sandwich Tern 8 Black Skimmer 527 Estimated 450 resting (many loafing) beachfront. Mourning Dove 5 Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker 2 Great Crested Flycatcher 2 Eastern Kingbird 1 Fish Crow 1 Northern Rough-winged Swallow 1 Barn Swallow 6 Marsh Wren 3 Brown Thrasher 2 Northern Mockingbird 1 Seaside Sparrow 2 Northern Cardinal 2 Painted Bunting 2 Bobolink 1 Red-winged Blackbird 75 Boat-tailed Grackle 25 Orchard Oriole 1 View this checklist online athttp://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S18445983 This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)