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.
11 November 2014
Tues 11 Nov 2014 survey
Tues 11 Nov 2014
Wil Christenson, Eliese Ronke, and Olivia Wilson joined me today for the BullsIslandwaterfowl/shorebirdsurvey. Coastal Expeditions' (CEX) Captain Richard Stuhr and First Mate Olivia Wilson graciously got us out to the island and back. CEX's Captain Chris Crolley gave us a sendoff and a great heads-up on where to look for the returning waterfowl. As always I am very grateful for CEX's expertise, interest, and service.
We had a sneaky good tally of 44 target species on the survey proper and 82 species on the whole day's outing. Our eBird checklist for the day is appended, below, FYI. Waterfowl have begun returning to BullsIsland and winteringshorebird species are increasing. (Maybe they've sensed that major cold front barreling down from Canada and moved ahead of that weather. Who knows?)
We all had excellent scope views of an American Bittern that flushed across a narrow ditch and perched high in the grasses of Jack's Creek. The most unexpected sighting was a White-winged Scoter in Upper Summerhouse Pond. Other sightings of note included either first-of-season (FOS) or first high counts of wintering species including: Little Blue Heron, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Bufflehead, American Black Duck, Green-winged Teal, Ruddy Duck, Dunlin, Northern Shoveler, Bonaparte's Gull, Horned Grebe, Redhead, Lesser Scaup, Red-breasted Merganser, and Common Loon.
Upper Summerhouse Pond (USP) continues to impress with a wide variety of shorebirds, wading birds, waterfowl, and passerines. There is an ongoing algal bloom in parts of USP leaving me wondering whether is is a salt water (likely) or fresh water (much less likely) bloom. I really need to get a refractometer so that I can read salinities in the impoundments. There was a large mixed flock of shorebirds in the oceanfront marsh at Jack's Creek that was flushed by a Peregrine Falcon before we got a scope on them; after that flush, the marsh was all but empty of shorebirds and was as quiet (bird wise) as I ever remember.
Non avian sightings included long-tailed skippers, Monarch butterflies, Gulf fritillaries, yellow sulfur butterflies, carpenter bees, a fox squirrel, baby American alligators (count of 23), many adult gators (Wil had to literally kick one gator's tail out of the way so that the truck could just squeeze by), a pair of shrews (likely--heard only), and a relatively fresh marine mammal stranding on the North Beach--an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin.
Looking ahead at the tide calendar suggests the following dates for our next survey:
Tues 25 Nov high tide 6.1 ft at 9:24 AM
Wed 26 Nov high tide 5.9 ft at 10:15 AM
Fri 28 Nov high tide 5.6 ft at 12:10 PM
Stay tuned for final plans.
Cape Romain NWR--BullsIsland, Charleston, US-SC Nov 11, 2014 8:50 AM - 4:11 PM Protocol: Traveling 16.0 mile(s) Comments: Conducting the ongoingBullsIslandwaterfowl/shorebirdsurvey. Effort: 4.15 mi (one way) and 35 min by ferry plus 9.9 mi and 2 hr by truck plus 2.0 mi and 4 hr 46 min by foot. Weather: mostly overcast with brief full sunlight; temps 58 F to 76 F; winds N at <= 5 mph; barometer at 29.85 in Hg and steady. High tide was forecast forecast to be 5.6 ft at 10:30 AM. Observed tides (in Charleston harbor) ran to 6.7 ft at 11:06 AM. <br />Submitted from BirdLog NA for iOS, version 1.6.3 82 species American Wigeon 2 American Black Duck 8 Mottled Duck 1 Blue-winged Teal 3 Northern Shoveler 60 Green-winged Teal 130 Redhead 5 Lesser Scaup 8 White-winged Scoter 1 Bufflehead 33 A fairly accurate count. Red-breasted Merganser 4 Ruddy Duck 33 A fairly accurate count. Common Loon 1 Pied-billed Grebe 70 Spread over several impoundments. Horned Grebe 1 Wood Stork 3 Double-crested Cormorant 95 Anhinga 2 Brown Pelican 51 American Bittern 1 Great Blue Heron 10 Great Egret 10 Snowy Egret 11 Little Blue Heron 12 Tricolored Heron 31 A fairly accurate count. Black-crowned Night-Heron 1 Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 1 White Ibis 29 Turkey Vulture 15 Osprey 1 Northern Harrier 3 Cooper's Hawk 1 Bald Eagle 4 2 mature, 2 immature Red-tailed Hawk 1 Clapper Rail 6 Common Gallinule 33 American Coot 52 American Oystercatcher 200 One large parcel resting on an oyster shell rake across from Garris Landing. The same whole parcel took to the wing twice allowing a better estimate than the resting parcel. Grey Plover 2 Semipalmated Plover 200 Piping Plover 5 None appeared to have leg bands or flags. Killdeer 1 Spotted Sandpiper 1 Greater Yellowlegs 43 Willet 50 Lesser Yellowlegs 10 Ruddy Turnstone 13 Sanderling 26 Most on the North Beach. A fairly accurate count. Dunlin 980 Most on the North Beach. An estimate. Western Sandpiper 12 Short-billed Dowitcher 24 Bonaparte's Gull 2 Laughing Gull 38 Ring-billed Gull 1 Herring Gull 10 Forster's Tern 3 Mourning Dove 1 Belted Kingfisher 7 Red-bellied Woodpecker 1 Peregrine Falcon 1 Eastern Phoebe 8 Blue Jay 1 Fish Crow 4 Tree Swallow 40 Carolina Chickadee 1 House Wren 1 Sedge Wren 1 Carolina Wren 1 Blue-grey Gnatcatcher 2 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2 Grey Catbird 2 Northern Mockingbird 6 Orange-crowned Warbler 1 Common Yellowthroat 1 Palm Warbler 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 26 Chipping Sparrow 1 Savannah Sparrow 4 Seaside Sparrow 23 Swamp Sparrow 5 Red-winged Blackbird 70 Boat-tailed Grackle 6 View this checklist online athttp://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S20520672 This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)