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.
26 September 2014
Fri 26 Sept 2014 survey
Fri 26 Sept 2014
Yesterday Wil Christenson, formerly the Captain of the Coastal Expeditions (CEX) ferry, and Olivia Wilson, the current First Mate of the CEX ferry, joined me for the BullsIslandwaterfowl/shorebirdsurvey. CEX owner Chris Crolley was at Garris Landing to give us a good send off with his long-ago Captain Al back at the helm (apologies, but I can't recall Al's last name) and Naturalist/Guide Gates Roll back from his recent wedding. CEX gave us their usual top-notch service in getting us out to Bulls and back.
We tallied 35 target species on the survey proper, 58 species overall; our eBird checklist on the whole day's outing is appended, below, FYI. Shorebird migration seems to be past peak and several of the usual summer resident birds appear to have left. Avian highlights include good numbers of Pied-billed Grebes, 6 Reddish Egrets, many Common Gallinules, American Coot, Sora, Common Tern, Roseate Spoonbill, American White Pelican, Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon (one resting on the North Beach--strange how there were almost no small shorebirds within sight there ;-)) , Merlin (it was a terrific day for raptors!), Seaside Sparrow, and Bobolink.
Summer avian residents apparently now gone include Wilson's Plover, Black-necked Stilt, Least Tern, Gull-billed Tern, and Black Tern.
Non-avian sightings included at least 25 American alligators at the trunk connecting Jack's Creek and BullsBay, Atlantic bottle-nosed dolphin, love bugs, and mosquitos.
The recent breach at the SW corner of Upper Summerhouse Pond (USP) has been repaired and a new drain (not a trunk but a metal drain pipe, ostensibly functioning as an overflow outlet from USP to the salt marsh) has been placed in the extreme SE corner of USP. The water level has risen a bit in USP due to, I suspect, recent rains. An impressive and quick repair given the tight budgets that the refuge has been working under!
I lead a Carolina Bird Club field trip out to BullsIsland today on a CEX charter. With 16 great birders in total and an exceptional CEX guide in Chris Crolley, we tallied 85 species on the day! I'm taking another CBC field trip out to Bulls tomorrow where we'll try for an even larger tally, so here's hoping that Chris dreams about sparrows again tonight.
Looking forward at the tide calendar and my own calendar suggests the following possible dates for our nextsurvey:
Monday 13 Oct 2014 high tide of 5.8 ft at 12:07 PM
Tuesday 14 Oct 2014 high tide of 5.5 ft at 12:59 PM
High tides on these dates are slightly later than we typically access, but I have other plans for the preceding several days that will prevent me from going until Monday or Tuesday. Stay tuned for final plans.
Cape Romain NWR--BullsIsland, Charleston, US-SC Sep 25, 2014 8:40 AM - 4:54 PM Protocol: Traveling 17.899 mile(s) Comments: Conducting the ongoingBullsIslandwaterfowl/shorebirdsurvey. Effort: 4.15 mi (one way) and 1 hr by ferry plus 11.2 mi and 2 hr by vehicle plus 2.5 mi and 5 hr 15 min by foot. Weather: overcast, misty/foggy early, and cool; temps 67 F to 75 F; NW winds at 10 mph. High tide was forecast to be 5.7 ft at 9:04 AM. <br />Submitted from BirdLog NA for iOS, version 1.6.3 58 species Wood Duck 2 Pied-billed Grebe 22 Distinct profile, many locations. Double-crested Cormorant 12 A fairly accurate count. Anhinga 2 American White Pelican 40 Brown Pelican 72 Great Blue Heron 3 Great Egret 36 Snowy Egret 39 Little Blue Heron 1 Tricolored Heron 19 Reddish Egret 6 In the saltwater marsh oceanfront at Jack's Creek. An accurate count. Green Heron 3 Black-crowned Night-Heron 4 White Ibis 1 Glossy Ibis 1 Roseate Spoonbill 1 Turkey Vulture 6 Osprey 1 Bald Eagle 2 2 mature Red-shouldered Hawk 2 Red-tailed Hawk 1 Clapper Rail 14 Sora 1 Common Gallinule 61 All over theisland. American Coot 3 Black rail, white bill. Grey Plover 9 Semipalmated Plover 160 Likely underestimated from a large flock of uniformly sized and shaped shorebirds seen at distance on the wing where only about a quarter could be positively identified before the flock landed out of sight. Spotted Sandpiper 1 Greater Yellowlegs 2 Willet 204 Many lining a private dock along the Intracoastal Waterway at high tide. Marbled Godwit 3 Ruddy Turnstone 29 Most beachfront, a fairly accurate count. Sanderling 36 Most on the North Beach. Western Sandpiper 7 Laughing Gull 25 Herring Gull 1 Caspian Tern 3 Common Tern 4 Forster's Tern 34 Royal Tern 44 Sandwich Tern 3 Mourning Dove 5 Belted Kingfisher 10 Merlin 5 Peregrine Falcon 2 Blue Jay 1 Tree Swallow 1 Carolina Wren 1 Northern Mockingbird 2 Common Yellowthroat 2 American Redstart 1 Palm Warbler 4 Seaside Sparrow 1 Northern Cardinal 3 Bobolink 12 Red-winged Blackbird 24 Boat-tailed Grackle 4 View this checklist online athttp://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19951688 This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)