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.
27 December 2014
Sat 27 Dec 2014 survey
Sat 27 Dec 2014
I was fortunate today to be joined by three great birders for the waterfowl/shorebirdsurvey on Bulls Island: Wil Christenson, Cathy Miller, and Carl Miller. Carl's original plans changed late thus allowing him to make his own reservation with Coastal Expeditions for the ferry and, thus, join us for the day.
As I had silently predicted, there were many folks showing signs of cabin fever between the holidays, extended families present, and the recent rains; a terrific cure for such ills is a trip to Bulls Island on the CEX ferry. There were about 70 people who showed up for the ferry, including us. Captain Wil, currently on sabbatical from CEX, was conscripted back into service to pilot a second boat over to Bulls and back. Thanks, CEX, for your continued enthusiastic services in hauling us out to Bulls and back.
Our time on Bulls was more restricted than usual because I had forgotten that CEX's winter schedule departs at 10:00 AM (not 9:00 AM) and returns at 3:00 PM (not 4:00 PM). Nonetheless, on our foreshortened survey we tallied 45 species on the survey proper and 84 on the whole day's outing. Cathy graciously and conscientiously kept then shared eBird lists on the day; our shared checklist for the island is appended below, FYI. There were no particularly outstanding sightings, but birds of some interest included good numbers of Gadwall, Ruddy Duck, Dunlin, American White Pelicans, Red-breasted Merganser, Redhead, and Peregrine Falcon along with small numbers of Sora, Piping Plover, and Least Sandpiper. In smaller-than-expected numbers were Lesser Scaup, Black Duck, American Wigeon, and Green-winged Teal.
Upper Summerhouse Pond was, again, very ducky with about 700 waterfowl. The water level there has risen, I assume due to the recent rains, and as a possible result there were fewer shorebirds there than seen recently. I'm sure that when they put in a new trunk to replace the one lost they will also put in a new water level gauge. The salinity there was 29 ppt--not too bad since it was fully tidal for some weeks back in the early fall. Jack's Creek, however, remains particularly salty at 35 ppt (full seawater is 35 ppt).
Non avian sightings were limited to the expected American alligators, a few Monarch butterflies, and deer tracks.
Looking ahead at the tide calendar suggests the following dates to consider for our next survey:
Th 8 Jan 2015 high tide 5.1 ft at 9:27 AM
Fri 9 Jan 2015 high tide 4.9 ft at 10:03 AM
Sat 10 Jan 2015 high tide 4.7 ft at 10:40 AM
Mon 12 Jan 2015 high tide 4.3 ft at 12:05 PM
Stay tuned for further plans.
Cape Romain NWR--Bulls Island, Charleston, US-SC Dec 27, 2014 10:43 AM - 4:13 PM Protocol: Traveling 19.999 mile(s) Comments: Participants: David McLean, Wil Christenson, Carl Miller & myself. This was part of theshorebird/waterfowlsurveythat David McLean conducts for the Fish & Wildlife Service. This list represents birds sent from boat to & from Bulls Island as well as birds seen on island in & near Jack s Creek and near & on Upper Summerhouse Pond. Submitted from BirdLog NA for Android v1.9.6 77 species Gadwall 540 American Wigeon 8 American Black Duck 2 Northern Shoveler 42 Green-winged Teal 25 Redhead 64 Lesser Scaup 53 Bufflehead 70 Hooded Merganser 7 Red-breasted Merganser 10 Ruddy Duck 300 Common Loon 3 Pied-billed Grebe 27 Horned Grebe 11 Wood Stork 1 Northern Gannet 2 Double-crested Cormorant 83 Anhinga 1 American White Pelican 50 Brown Pelican 7 Great Blue Heron 10 Great Egret 12 Snowy Egret 37 Little Blue Heron 9 Tricolored Heron 11 Black-crowned Night-Heron 19 White Ibis 28 Black Vulture 4 Turkey Vulture 4 Osprey 1 Northern Harrier 2 Red-shouldered Hawk 1 Red-tailed Hawk 1 Clapper Rail 3 Sora 2 Common Gallinule 15 American Coot 420 American Oystercatcher 48 Grey Plover 23 Semipalmated Plover 110 Piping Plover 2 Spotted Sandpiper 2 Greater Yellowlegs 3 Willet 31 Ruddy Turnstone 13 Sanderling 30 Dunlin 1150 Least Sandpiper 2 Western Sandpiper 4 Short-billed Dowitcher 40 Ring-billed Gull 10 Herring Gull 6 Forster's Tern 16 Belted Kingfisher 7 Red-bellied Woodpecker 3 Northern Flicker 2 Merlin 1 Peregrine Falcon 2 Eastern Phoebe 3 Blue Jay 8 Tree Swallow 24 Carolina Chickadee 3 Tufted Titmouse 1 Marsh Wren 1 Carolina Wren 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 5 Eastern Bluebird 3 Northern Mockingbird 5 Pine Warbler 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler 20 Eastern Towhee 8 Savannah Sparrow 3 Song Sparrow 1 White-throated Sparrow 1 Northern Cardinal 1 Red-winged Blackbird 25 Boat-tailed Grackle 20 View this checklist online athttp://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21050371 This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)