Fri 5 June 2015
Kathy Greider and Jack Rogers joined me today for the ongoing Bulls Island waterfowl/shorebird survey. Coastal Expeditions (CEX) ferried us out and back on their regular ferry service; thanks, CEX!
We tallied 65 species on the day's outing, 59 species on Bulls Island, and 40 species on the survey proper. Our eBird checklist for the island is appended below, FYI. Where we had large (3000 to 6600) mixed flocks of shorebirds in the mudflats of Jack's Creek since late March we tallied fewer than 100 birds in all of Jack's Creek today, mostly the expected summer residents. The North Beach had good numbers of the usual summer resident species plus it offered a special treat for all of us.
We added a new species to the survey today, one that was a life list species for me. While on the North Beach Jack noticed and called out a tern flying over our shoulder over the dunes…a Sooty Tern. We all had good binocular views of that elegant tern before I watched it disappear from my scope over Bulls Bay in the direction of the large sand bar. See the checklist below for the details that we recorded for this sighting. (And thanks to Nate Dias for helping with this ID. We initially thought Bridled Tern, Jack posted the sighting on a pelagic bird listserv, and Nate replied that Sooty Tern was more likely. Two strikingly similar species, but our very-dark-(almost-black)-backed bird did fit Sooty Tern much better than it did a dark-gray-backed Bridled Tern.)
Other notable avian sightings on the day included a persistently calling King Rail (just outside of the survey in the saltmarsh edge of Bulls Bay) [With thanks to Aaron Given, who noted that some King Rail calls and some Clapper Rail calls are very similar, the King Rail entry on eBird has been changed to "large rail sp. Rallus sp." Correction added Mon 8 June 2015.], Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Black Scoter, first-of-season (FOS) Reddish Egret, Piping Plover (reported to us by the day's turtle patrol volunteer,), Sanderling, Short-billed Dowithcher, Marbled Godwit, and Great Black-backed Gull (immature).
Notable avian misses included Black Tern, Least Tern, and Spotted Sandpiper.
Non-avian sightings of interest included fox squirrel, black racer (snake), bobcat scat, horseshoe crabs (several of which we flipped over to facilitate their return to the ocean), and bottle-nosed dolphin (one of which performed a full breach jump out of the water--eat your heart out, Sea World!). Oh, and American alligators, so many alligators. And the turtle patrol folks reported five nests yesterday and four today.
Looking ahead at the tidal calendar suggests the following dates to consider for our next survey:
Fri 19 June 2015, 4.7 ft high tide forecast at 10:37 AM
Sat 20 June 2015, 4.6 ft high tide forecast at 11:24 AM
Sun 21 June 2015, 4.5 ft high tide forecast at 12:10 PM
Cape Romain NWR--Bulls Island, Charleston, South Carolina, US
Jun 5, 2015 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Comments: Conducting the ongoing Bulls Island waterfowl/shorebird survey with Kathy Greider and Jack Rogers. Effort: 8.7 mi and 1 hr 30 min by vehicle plus 3.5 mi and 4 hr 30 min by foot. Weather: heavy overcast very early with trace of rain but quickly clearing to mostly sunny and warm; temps 70 F to 79 F; N winds at 8 mph with gusts to 13 mph; barometer 29.90 in Hg. Tide was forecast 4.76 ft high at 10:18 AM. <br />Submitted from BirdLog NA for iOS, version 1.6.3
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 1
Mottled Duck 20
Black Scoter 8 Scope view of all Black Sea ducks, some on beach and some swimming beyond the breakers.
Double-crested Cormorant 6
Brown Pelican 49
Least Bittern 4
Great Blue Heron 1
Great Egret 3
Snowy Egret 22
Tricolored Heron 8
Reddish Egret 1
Green Heron 6
Black-crowned Night-Heron 5
White Ibis 13
Glossy Ibis 1
Black Vulture 2
Turkey Vulture 5
King Rail 1 Heard repeatedly calling from salt water marsh.
Clapper Rail 3
Common Gallinule 9
Black-necked Stilt 19
American Oystercatcher 12
Grey Plover 6 All showing nonbreeding plumage.
Wilson's Plover 8
Semipalmated Plover 115 A fairly accurate count.
Greater Yellowlegs 1
Lesser Yellowlegs 1 Scope view, seen side-by-side with a Greater Yellowlegs.
Marbled Godwit 1
Ruddy Turnstone 15 A fairly accurate count.
Sanderling 20 Breeding plumage, fly-by on North Beach.
Semipalmated Sandpiper 50
Short-billed Dowitcher 84 Good scope views both on wing and resting on the sand. Also heard.
Laughing Gull 253
Great Black-backed Gull 1
Sooty Tern 1 Flyover. Dark gray almost black upperside, slim and elegant shape, deeply forked tail, white underside with dark gray wing tips beneath, black streak through eye, white forehead, very strongly contrasted between dorsal and ventral sides.
Gull-billed Tern 4
Forster's Tern 2
Royal Tern 223 Some observed mating.
Sandwich Tern 22
Black Skimmer 27
Mourning Dove 12
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 3
Common Nighthawk 7 Heard in several different locations across the island, saw at least 4.
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Great Crested Flycatcher 5
Purple Martin 7
Barn Swallow 20
Marsh Wren 3
Northern Mockingbird 4 One heard mimicking both a Brown-headed Nuthatch and an Eastern Whip-poor-will.
Pine Warbler 1
Northern Cardinal 7
Painted Bunting 8
Red-winged Blackbird 20
Boat-tailed Grackle 6
Orchard Oriole 10
View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S23792288
This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (/content/iss)