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.
30 May 2014
Fri 30 May 2014 survey
Fr 30 May 2014
I had a great day on BullsIsland today conducting the waterfowl/shorebirdsurvey. Captain Richard and First Mate Olivia of CEX's BullsIsland Ferry were gracious and helpful to haul me out there, set me up with a truck, and then to haul me all the way back at the end of the day. There was only 0.02 in of rain that fell from about 1 PM till about 2:30 PM--it was just barely enough to force me to put on a rain jacket, mostly because it was threatening to become steadier. Clouds and fairly moderate temperatures kept the day's weather otherwise very tolerable.
I tallied 42 target species on the survey proper and 61 species overall (full eBird checklist is appended, below), though counts of total individuals was down somewhat (727 individuals) compared to most outings. In short, pretty good variety but overall numbers somewhat lower than recent.
I had advance word of both Reddish Egret (got it on the North Beach) and Purple Gallinule (missed it in its reported location in Lower Summerhouse Pond along Beach Road). I'll keep looking for the PUGA. (Interestingly a PUGA has also been recently reported from Caw Caw; perhaps there's a minor PUGA irruption ongoing.)
Species of the day has to be a new one for the survey and perhaps a new species for the island: Black-bellied Whistling-Duck! I had 27 calmly sitting in the small impoundment wedged between the Boneyard, Moccasin Pond, and Jack's Creek (I can't recall the name of this impoundment--help me, Dan? It shares a trunk with Jack's where you take the "second" water quality data for Jack's.). Just outside of the survey area! Not to worry, as it happens, as I later had 5 more BBWD on the wing flying out of the Upper Summerhouse Pond! BBWD officially on the survey!
Other notable avian sightings included: Red-breasted Merganser (in the saltwater marshes between landings), juvenile Common Gallinules, American Coot, Black Tern, Sandwich Tern, and Black Scoter. Shorebird numbers were overall down (1 Dunlin and no yellowlegs, Black-bellied Plover, or Red Knot, e.g.), though I had almost 70 peeps some of which I could ID as Western Sandpiper, some of which I couldn't distinguish Western Sandpiper versus Semipalmated Sandpiper. That's often a tough ID to make--I'm working hard on the peeps.
Non avian sightings included fox squirrels (1 in the yard/picnic grounds plus 1 along Beach Road in the AM plus 2 in the yard about 3:30 PM), white-tailed deer, bottle-nosed dolphin, and several alligators.
Looking forward at the tide chart suggests the following dates to consider for the next survey:
Sat 14 July 2014 high tide 5.1 ft at 9:12 AM
Mon 16 July 2014 high tide 5.2 ft at 11:04 AM
Tues 17 July 2014 high tide 5.2 ft at 12:03 PM
Stay tuned for further plans.
Cape Romain NWR--BullsIsland, Charleston, US-SC May 30, 2014 8:45 AM - 4:03 PM Protocol: Traveling 17.649 mile(s) Comments: Conducting the ongoingBullsIslandwaterfowl/shorebirdsurvey. Effort: 4.15 mi and 30 min by ferry plus 11.5 mi and 2 hr by vehicle plus 2 mi and 4 hr 48 min by foot. Weather: AM bright overcast, PM partly sunny to overcast with 0.02 in rain between 1300 and 1430; temps 73 F to 79 F; winds SE and light at < 19 mph with gusts to 15 mph. <br />Submitted from BirdLog NA for iOS, version 1.6.3 61 species (+1 other taxa) Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 32 An accurate count. Mallard 2 Mottled Duck 20 Black Scoter 3 Scope views of 1 male (dark scoter with yellow-orange bill) in surf off North Beach plus a male-female pair on the main beachfront (male with yellow-orange bill, female with light cheek patch). Red-breasted Merganser 2 In salt marsh. Serrated bill, white speculum. Double-crested Cormorant 10 Anhinga 8 Brown Pelican 32 Least Bittern 2 Great Blue Heron 3 Great Egret 52 Snowy Egret 90 Little Blue Heron 1 Tricolored Heron 21 Reddish Egret 1 Cattle Egret 2 Green Heron 11 Black-crowned Night-Heron 4 White Ibis 24 Glossy Ibis 13 Turkey Vulture 2 Clapper Rail 1 Common Gallinule 27 Count includes 11 juveniles. American Coot 2 Scope view. Dark rail with white bill. Black-necked Stilt 46 Seen wading and flying, heard calling. American Oystercatcher 2 Wilson's Plover 2 Semipalmated Plover 19 Killdeer 1 Spotted Sandpiper 1 Willet 6 Ruddy Turnstone 4 Dunlin 1 Breeding plumage-very dark belly. Western Sandpiper 38 Many peeps, several IDed as WESA based on slightly decurved tip of bill. peep sp. 30 Unable to distinguish between WESA and SESA. Many appeared NOT to have decurved tip of bill. Short-billed Dowitcher 15 Laughing Gull 96 Ring-billed Gull 9 Least Tern 21 Gull-billed Tern 7 Black Tern 9 Forster's Tern 33 Royal Tern 85 Sandwich Tern 11 Black Skimmer 93 Mourning Dove 7 Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1 Pileated Woodpecker 1 Great Crested Flycatcher 3 White-eyed Vireo 1 Barn Swallow 6 Marsh Wren 5 Carolina Wren 3 Northern Mockingbird 10 Northern Parula 1 Pine Warbler 1 Summer Tanager 1 Northern Cardinal 4 Blue Grosbeak 1 Painted Bunting 3 Red-winged Blackbird 31 Boat-tailed Grackle 30 View this checklist online athttp://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S18627406 This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)