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.
01 August 2014
Fri 1 Aug 2014 survey
Fri 1 Aug 2014
Susan Hancock joined me yesterday for the BullsIslandwaterfowl/shorebirdsurvey. 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--BullsIsland, Charleston, US-SC Jul 31, 2014 8:35 AM - 3:35 PM Protocol: Traveling 18.299 mile(s) Comments: Conducting the ongoingBullsIslandwaterfowl/shorebirdsurvey. 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 ofBullsBay. 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 athttp://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19296713 This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)