01 August 2014

Fri 1 Aug 2014 survey

Fri 1 Aug 2014


   Susan Hancock joined me yesterday for the Bulls Island waterfowl/shorebird survey. We were fortunate to have three great hosts from the Coastal Expeditions (CEX) ferry carry us to and from the island: Owner and Captain Chris Crolley and First Mates and Naturalists Olivia Wilson and Nick. (Sorry, I can't recall Nick's last name.) CEX has been such a great asset for this survey, always giving us first rate service, that I wish I could do more than simply say "Thank you!"

   The morning's high tide was forecast to be only moderately high at 4.7 ft, but the stiff East winds kept the levels much higher through the whole day. We had only a trace of rain at 3:30 PM right at the end of the survey, but the ferry ride back was in and out of light rain that dampened our clothing but failed to dampen our spirits after such a great day's birding.

   We tallied 45 target species on the survey proper, 59 species on the day's outing. My eBird checklist is appended, below, FYI. Avian species of note include: 1 Piping Plover (no leg bands), Roseate Spoonbills (fully PINK!), American Avocets, Reddish Egret, and 1 Red Knot. We also had good numbers of Short-billed Dowitchers, Marbled Godwits, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Least Terns, Sandwich Terns, and Black Terns.

   Non-target avian species seen included 1 Belted Kingfisher and 1 Northern Rough-winged Swallow. Misses included Least Bittern and Wilson's Plover. Non-avian sightings included Atlantic bottle-nosed dolphin, white-tailed deer, cottonmouth, butterflies, and dragonflies. Also missed were fox squirrels. The mosquitoes and deer flies were very few. (The steady East wind kept the insect pests down and kept the tide up much higher than the 4.7 ft predicted high tide.)

   The North Beach continues to accrete! The dune line is taller, and the vegetation, especially the sea oats, is growing much further out and in much greater number than even two weeks ago. Strangely, however, the North Beach continues to have few birds, a trend that has been fairly consistent over this entire calendar year. The water level in the marsh oceanfront at Jack's Creek appears relatively stable though low, but the recent breech in the dune line remains. It will be interesting to see what happens there with the upcoming perigee full moon, aka super moon at 2:09 PM Sun 10 Aug 2014, and the associated high tides. I hope that the winds will be favorable to protect the whole island during those several days of spring astronomical tides.

   Looking forward at the tidal calendar suggests the following dates to consider for our next survey:

Tues 12 Aug 2014 high tide 5.9 ft at 9:33 AM
Wed 13 Aug 2014 high tide 6.0 ft at 10:29 AM
Thurs 14 Aug 2014 high tide 5.9 ft at 11:24 AM
Fri 15 Aug 2014 high tide 5.8 ft at 12:20 PM

   Stay tuned for further plans.



Cape Romain NWR--Bulls Island, Charleston, US-SC
Jul 31, 2014 8:35 AM - 3:35 PM
Protocol: Traveling
18.299 mile(s)
Comments:     Conducting the ongoing Bulls Island waterfowl/shorebird survey. Effort: 4.15 mi and 30 min by ferry plus 11.6 mi and 2 hr by vehicle plus 2.6 mi and 4 hr 30 min by foot. Weather: bright overcast and warm; trace of rain at 3:30 PM; temps 81 F to 84 F; steady winds E at 10 mph to 15 mph. High tide was forecast to be 4.7 ft at 11:19 AM, but the steady E winds kept the water levels higher throughout the day.  <br />Submitted from BirdLog NA for iOS, version 1.6.3
59 species

Mottled Duck  10
Pied-billed Grebe  2
Wood Stork  15
Double-crested Cormorant  9
Anhinga  7
American White Pelican  2
Brown Pelican  251     Includes one large, resting flock of 150 beachfront.
Great Blue Heron  5
Great Egret  39
Snowy Egret  32
Tricolored Heron  36
Reddish Egret  1
Green Heron  2
Black-crowned Night-Heron  9
White Ibis  72
Glossy Ibis  2
Roseate Spoonbill  2
Turkey Vulture  4
Osprey  2
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Clapper Rail  1
Common Gallinule  17
American Coot  1     Dark rail, white bill.
Black-necked Stilt  32     Less vocal than expected.
American Avocet  2     White wader, dark wing, buff head and neck, recurved bill.
American Oystercatcher  33     Mostly from one large flock on the wing in the salt marshes of Bulls Bay.
Grey Plover  10
Semipalmated Plover  19     In the salt water marsh beachfront at Jack's Creek.
Piping Plover  1     Very pale plover, short bill, yellow/orange legs. No evident leg bands.
Spotted Sandpiper  4     Jack's Creek. Stiff wing beats, spotted breast sandpiper.
Greater Yellowlegs  2
Willet  40
Lesser Yellowlegs  2
Whimbrel  2
Marbled Godwit  52     A fairly accurate count. Large wader, warm cinnamon color, long bicolored bill slightly recurved.  Each closely observed in rule out Long-billed Curlew.
Ruddy Turnstone  9     North Beach and oceanfront marsh at Jack's Creek.
Red Knot  1     Medium sized sandpiper, rusty red breast, stout bill of intermediate length.
Sanderling  1
Semipalmated Sandpiper  62
Short-billed Dowitcher  186     Mostly in large resting flocks, oceanfront marsh at Jack's Creek.
Laughing Gull  116
Ring-billed Gull  6
Least Tern  269
Gull-billed Tern  48
Black Tern  211
Forster's Tern  54
Royal Tern  153
Sandwich Tern  38
Black Skimmer  3
Mourning Dove  6
Belted Kingfisher  1
Fish Crow  9
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  1
Tree Swallow  2
Marsh Wren  4
Northern Cardinal  2
Painted Bunting  1
Red-winged Blackbird  5
Boat-tailed Grackle  20

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19296713

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

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