19 August 2015

Tu 18 Aug 2015 survey: Piping Plovers and many Snowy Egrets

W 19 Aug 2015

   Wil Christenson and I had a great, damp day on Bulls Island yesterday for the ongoing waterfowl/shorebird survey. Coastal Expeditions once again graciously provided our boating transportation out and back. We arrived on the island after a brief rain shower that dampened only our clothing and gear but not our enjoyment of the day's outing. The van that we drove around the island protected us from the rest of the day's intermittent rain. And what spectacular BIG skyscapes we had all day long between rain clouds, bright cumulus clouds, and patchy sunshine!

   The shorebirds continue passing through on fall migration. We tallied 47 species on the survey proper, 63 species on the island, plus 21 species on the ferry. Our eBird checklist from the island, created and submitted by Wil who subsequently shared it with me, is appended below, FYI. We had an impressive 11 Piping Plovers resting together (3 with leg bands that will be reported to the USGS banding lab), all on the North Beach. More impressive than that sighting was the massive collection of Snowy Egrets in Jack's Creek. I focused my scope on one view and counted 138 SNEG without moving the scope; I conservatively estimated 500 SNEG all together, none apparently bothered by the ongoing dike construction. The only waterfowl were a pair of flyover duck sp. (possibly Blue-winged Teal) that were outside of the survey area proper.

   Non-avian sighting included loggerhead sea turtle, fox squirrel, American alligator, scattered butterflies, and enough mosquitoes to drive less tolerant bodies to complete distraction; I almost yielded to the temptation to apply insect repellent.

   Repair of the breached dike between Pool 3 and Jack's Creek (along Alligator Alley) has begun and ought to be complete by the end of the week, weather permitting. Great news for both our survey effort and for the numerous ferry passengers hiking around the island. And the new sand dunes along the North Beach have an impressive collection of plants, sea oats and Carolina saltwort in particular, growing well; it's great to watch these ongoing, positive, natural changes on the island.

   Looking ahead at the tidal calendar suggests the following dates to consider for our next survey:

Tues 1 Sept 2015 6.3 ft high tide forecast at 10:23 AM
Wed 2 Sept 2015 6.2 ft high tide forecast at 11:18 AM 
Thurs 3 Sept 2015 6.1 ft high tide forecast at 12:16 PM


Cape Romain NWR--Bulls Island, Charleston, South Carolina, US
Aug 18, 2015 9:14 AM - 3:48 PM
Protocol: Traveling
12.0 mile(s)
Comments:     Conducting the ongoing Bulls Island water/shorebird survey with David McLean. Effort: 9.5 mi and 1 hr 34 min by truck plus 2.5 mi and 5 hr by foot. Weather: overcast, calm and warm; temps 77 F to 87 F; winds SE at 0 mph to 5 mph; barometer steady at 30.07 in Hg. Tide was forecast 5.1 ft high at 11:21 AM;
Submitted from  BirdLog NA for Android v1.9.6
62 species (+1 other taxa)

duck sp.  2
Wood Stork  15
Double-crested Cormorant  1
Anhinga  1
Brown Pelican  89
Least Bittern  2
Great Blue Heron  3
Great Egret  67
Snowy Egret  500
Little Blue Heron  1
Tricolored Heron  24
Reddish Egret  6
Green Heron  7
Black-crowned Night-Heron  16
White Ibis  10
Glossy Ibis  2
Turkey Vulture  1
Osprey  1
Clapper Rail  1
Common Gallinule  13
Black-necked Stilt  2
American Oystercatcher  4
Grey Plover  43
Wilson's Plover  15
Semipalmated Plover  129
Piping Plover  11     Good Scope Views.  3 PIPLs were banded.  Color Combos were: Bird 1 UL Orange, LL Green, UR metal, LR split green and orange.  Bird 2 UL Metal, LL Blue, UR Orange Flag, LR Blue, Black.  Bird 3 UL orange flag, LL Yellow, Green,  UR Metal, LR Orange.
Spotted Sandpiper  3
Greater Yellowlegs  2
Willet  7
Lesser Yellowlegs  2
Whimbrel  1
Marbled Godwit  5
Ruddy Turnstone  14
Red Knot  8     Good scope views.
Sanderling  99
Least Sandpiper  2
Semipalmated Sandpiper  55
Western Sandpiper  37
Short-billed Dowitcher  24
Laughing Gull  87
Ring-billed Gull  1
Herring Gull  1
Great Black-backed Gull  1
Least Tern  46
Gull-billed Tern  5
Caspian Tern  5
Black Tern  102
Common Tern  4
Forster's Tern  24
Royal Tern  56
Sandwich Tern  42
Black Skimmer  44
Mourning Dove  8
Barn Swallow  4
Carolina Wren  2
Northern Mockingbird  3
Pine Warbler  1
Seaside Sparrow  1
Northern Cardinal  5
Indigo Bunting  1
Red-winged Blackbird  4
Common Grackle  2
Boat-tailed Grackle  3

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (/content/iss)

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