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.
28 November 2014
Fri 28 Nov 2015 survey
Fri 28 Nov 2014
We had planned on conducting the BullsIslandwaterfowl/shorebirdsurvey this past Tuesday, but the thunder and lightening at 7:30 AM Tuesday morning quickly changed our plans. So instead I got out there today to take advantage of the beautiful but cold weather. Coastal Expeditions, specifically Captain Gates Roll and First Mate/Naturalist Rachel Jones, graciously allowed me to hitch a ferry ride out to the island along with many other folks also doing their best alternative Black Friday excursion. [Coastal Expeditions will be running one of their Long-billed Curlew excursions out of McClellanville this Sunday 30 Nov 2014; check out their announcement at: http://www.bullsislandferry.com/index.php?page=CurlewTour.]
I tallied 47 species on the survey proper, 81 species on the day's outing. See my eBird checklist, below, for a full accounting. Waterfowl have returned to BullsIsland in pretty good numbers, and it's still early in the season.
Upper Summerhouse Pond (USP) was spectacular today as I counted 13 species of waterfowl and over 1000 individual waterfowl from one vantage point! [No typo there: over 1,000.] Most numerous were Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Bufflehead, Gadwall, Hooded Merganser, and Ruddy Duck. Also at USP were Redhead, Canvasback, and Northern Pintail along with a scattering of shorebirds and wading birds. I don't remember USP having this many waterfowl since the 1970s when I first started going to Bulls with my father and Calvin Clyde (both from Florence County, both recently deceased) for Christmas Counts. I offer my apologies for my thoughts of doom and gloom for USP after the dike broke in August and was repaired in September.
Of particular note from Jack's Creek were two Horned Grebes (normally seen in good numbers in the marshes of BullsBay but not in any of the Bulls impoundments) and a Wilson's Snipe. Overall shorebird numbers were down as both the North Beach was practically devoid of shorebirds and the oceanfront marsh at Jack's had precious few shorebirds other than a flight of about 800 Dunlin.
Non avian wildlife sightings were somewhat limited today to the expected American alligator and Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. More horseshoe crab carapaces were left along the high tide line on the North Beach than I ever recall, especially small ones 4 in to 5 in across, and shelling was fairly good, too.
Looking ahead at the tide calendar suggests the following dates to consider for our next survey:
Thursday 11 Dec 2014 high tide 5.1 ft at 10:37 AM
Friday 12 Dec 2014 high tide 4.9 ft at 11:19 AM
Stay tuned for final plans.
Cape Romain NWR--BullsIsland, Charleston, US-SC Nov 28, 2014 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM Protocol: Traveling 17.449 mile(s) Comments: Conducting the ongoingBullsIslandwaterfowl/shorebirdsurvey. Effort: 4.15 mi (one way) and 1 hr by ferry plus 11.1 mi and 2 hr by truck plus 2.2 mi and 5 hr 30 min by foot. Weather: clear, sunny, and cold; temps 34 F to 45 F; AM winds NNE at 10 mph to 12 mph, PM winds NW at 5 mph; barometer 30.39 in Hg rising to 30.41 in Hg [by 11:15 AM] then falling to 30.32 in Hg. Tide was forecast high at 5.6 ft at 12:10 PM; Charleston harbor tide hit 6.42 ft at 12:48 PM. <br />Submitted from BirdLog NA for iOS, version 1.6.3 81 species (+1 other taxa) Gadwall 261 Scope views of most. A moderately reasonable estimate/count. American Wigeon 32 American Black Duck 2 Mottled Duck 4 Blue-winged Teal 80 Northern Shoveler 200 A possible under estimate/count. Northern Pintail 1 Green-winged Teal 155 Canvasback 4 Redhead 26 A fairly accurate count. Scope views. Lesser Scaup 56 Bufflehead 146 An estimate. Hooded Merganser 92 A conservative estimate. Red-breasted Merganser 1 Ruddy Duck 254 Jsck's Creek and Upper Summerhouse Pond. Scope views of most. Common Loon 2 Pied-billed Grebe 79 Highly abundant throughout theisland. Horned Grebe 12 2 actually on Jack's Creek, the rest in the tidal salt marsh. Wood Stork 1 Northern Gannet 18 Double-crested Cormorant 119 Anhinga 2 American White Pelican 21 Brown Pelican 43 Great Blue Heron 12 Great Egret 18 Snowy Egret 56 Both widely scattered and a few large congregations. Little Blue Heron 8 Tricolored Heron 23 Widely dispersed. Black-crowned Night-Heron 8 White Ibis 56 Glossy Ibis 1 Turkey Vulture 6 Northern Harrier 1 Cooper's Hawk 1 Bald Eagle 1 Red-tailed Hawk 1 Clapper Rail 8 Common Gallinule 34 American Coot 86 American Oystercatcher 13 Grey Plover 5 Semipalmated Plover 60 Piping Plover 1 No apparent leg bands or flags. Killdeer 2 Greater Yellowlegs 15 Willet 28 Ruddy Turnstone 12 Sanderling 24 A surprisingly low count. Dunlin 808 A reasonably accurate count. Western Sandpiper 2 Short-billed Dowitcher 6 Wilson's Snipe 1 Laughing Gull 63 Ring-billed Gull 9 Herring Gull 1 Forster's Tern 15 Royal Tern 1 Great Horned Owl 2 Hooting at Garris Landing as the sun set. Belted Kingfisher 10 Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 2 Eastern Phoebe 3 Blue Jay 8 American Crow 2 crow sp. 8 Tree Swallow 3 Carolina Wren 1 Grey Catbird 2 Brown Thrasher 1 Northern Mockingbird 5 Common Yellowthroat 2 Palm Warbler 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 19 Eastern Towhee 1 Chipping Sparrow 5 Savannah Sparrow 5 Song Sparrow 2 Swamp Sparrow 1 White-throated Sparrow 1 Northern Cardinal 2 Red-winged Blackbird 30 Boat-tailed Grackle 13 View this checklist online athttp://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S20713363 This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)