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 June 2014
Tues 17 June 2014 survey
Wed 18 June 2014
Yesterday I was able to continue the BullsIslandwaterfowl/shorebirdsurvey. I had a beautiful, sunny day with very warm temperatures and blissfully few biting insects. I caught the 9:00 AM Coastal Expeditions (CEX) ferry out and the 4:00 PM ferry back; thanks to Captain Gates Roll and First Mate and Naturalist Olivia Wilson for their gracious assistance and top-notch bird spotting.
Bird of the day was a Purple Gallinule that has been reported by the CEX folks and several other visitors to the islandfor about three weeks. I tried and missed this species on my last survey (Fri 30 May 2014) but located it today on my second visit down Beach Road to Lower Summerhouse Pond. I believe this is a new species for the survey. The last PUGA that I recall seeing on Bulls was pre-Hugo (i.e., prior to 1989).
Other interesting avian sightings included Black Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser, and Swallow-tailed Kite (all in the bay and marshes behind the island) as well as Black-bellied Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Marbled Godwit, Lesser Yellowlegs, Ruddy Turnstone, Dunlin, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Mottled Duck ducklings (6), Common Gallinule juveniles, Black-necked Stilt juveniles (4) and an apparent resident male Ruby-throated Hummingbird (in the same vine thicket at the corner of the Dominick house's front lawn and Beach Road as last year).
Misses included Reddish Egret and Roseate Spoonbill (not seen on this survey at all this calendar year), Black Tern, and the recently reported Black-bellied Whistling Ducks (reported by several others recently). (New Pond, where I first saw the BBWD last survey, had a significantly lowered water level compared to 30 May 2014 levels leaving an unsightly muddy mess.)
I tallied 36 target species on the survey proper, 57 species on the whole day. My eBird checklist is appended, below, FYI. Non avian wildlife sightings on the day included bottle-nosed dolphin, horseshoe crabs, black racer snake (a nice 5-footer), and two fox squirrels (one along Old Fort Road and one in the Dominick house's live oak lawn).
The island could really use some good rain. Swails between the dune lines that have been flooded for over a year have dried to soft, damp mud and the ephemeral small wetland pool in the center of the picnic grounds is receding. Does anybody know how to do a rain dance?
Looking at the tide calendar suggests the following dates for our next survey:
Monday 30 June 2014 high tide 4.4 ft at 10:35 AM
Tuesday 1 July 2014 high tide 4.4 ft at 11:16 AM
Wednesday 2 July 2014 high tide 4.4 ft at 11:57 AM
Thursday 3 July 2014 high tide 4.5 ft at 112:39 PM
Stay tuned for further plans.
Cape Romain NWR--BullsIsland, Charleston, US-SC Jun 17, 2014 8:40 AM - 3:25 PM Protocol: Traveling 19.0 mile(s) Comments: Conducting the ongoingBullsIslandwaterfowl/shorebirdsurvey. Effort: 4.15 mi (one way) and 1 hr by ferry plus 10.9 mi and 2 hr by vehicle plus 4.0 mi and 3 hr 45 min by foot. Weather: sunny and very warm; temps 75 F to 85 F; winds light, SE at <10 mph with gusts to 13 mph. <br />Submitted from BirdLog NA for iOS, version 1.6.3 57 species Mottled Duck 15 Includes 9 mature and 6 ducklings. Black Scoter 14 Scope views if the scoters standing on a shell bank plus 2 floating. Dark scoter, yellow/orange bill on the males, dusky cheek patch on the females. Red-breasted Merganser 1 Immediately adjacent to the ferry and good binocular view. Flat serrated bill, female plumage. Wood Stork 4 Double-crested Cormorant 21 A fairly accurate count. Anhinga 9 Brown Pelican 52 Least Bittern 3 Great Blue Heron 6 Great Egret 28 Snowy Egret 60 Little Blue Heron 3 Tricolored Heron 30 Cattle Egret 8 Green Heron 17 Black-crowned Night-Heron 1 White Ibis 15 Glossy Ibis 30 Black Vulture 2 Turkey Vulture 9 Osprey 2 Swallow-tailed Kite 1 Red-tailed Hawk 1 Purple Gallinule 1 Common Gallinule 17 Black-necked Stilt 48 Includes 44 mature and 4 immature. Many quite vocal. American Oystercatcher 3 Grey Plover 31 Most (maybe 26) not in breeding plumage, a few clearly in breeding plumage. Wilson's Plover 3 Semipalmated Plover 170 Small plover, short bill, single neck band plumage. A reasonably close count/estimate of numbers. Willet 17 Lesser Yellowlegs 4 Slight built, yellow legs, bill shorter than head length. Marbled Godwit 11 Some resting with tucked bill. Watched each very closely to rule out Long-billed Curlew, easily confirmed when the entire pantheon flew off together. Ruddy Turnstone 1 Dunlin 4 Long decurved bill, dark ventral plumage patch. Clearly Dunlin in breeding plumage. Semipalmated Sandpiper 10 Short-billed Dowitcher 452 Long bill, very few in red breeding plumage, most resting, a few feeding with the vertical sewing machine motion. A reasonably decent estimate of numbers. Laughing Gull 55 Least Tern 48 Most resting on the sand in the oceanfront marsh at Jack's Creek and several on the beachfront. Gull-billed Tern 2 Forster's Tern 23 Seen flying and resting. Scope views of many. Royal Tern 127 Sandwich Tern 18 Black Skimmer 22 Mourning Dove 6 Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1 1 male in the same territory as last year, namely at the corner of the live oak lawn and Beach Road. Scope view. Red-bellied Woodpecker 1 Great Crested Flycatcher 2 Barn Swallow 10 Marsh Wren 4 Brown Thrasher 1 Northern Mockingbird 3 Northern Cardinal 5 Painted Bunting 2 Red-winged Blackbird 40 Boat-tailed Grackle 50 Orchard Oriole 2 View this checklist online athttp://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S18821511 This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)