02 October 2015

1 Oct 2015 survey a wet affair between king tides and persistent rains

Fri 2 Oct 2015

   Jeff Kline braved the weather forecast yesterday and joined me for the ongoing Bulls Island waterfowl/shorebird survey. The temperature peaked at 77 °F at noon and began drooping to 71 °F with steady rain. I've been birding Bulls for many years and have had the great fortune to stay dry through most of that. Yesterday's rain was the most I've ever faced on the island, so I count my lucky stars that we had a vehicle to shield us from most of the rain. Coastal Expeditions (CEX), in particular Captain Wil Christenson and First Mate Nick Johnson, hauled us out to the island and back. We were fortunate to have Nick join us for the morning's birding effort before returning him to the dock for the noon ferry runs. Thanks, CEX.

   Still experiencing king tides due to last Sunday's super moon (a full moon at perigee, nominally the Harvest Moon, aka a blood moon due to the total lunar eclipse) and under steady north winds, yesterday's Charleston harbor tides were running 0.73 ft above prediction. Fortunately the North Beach seems to have weathered the recent king tides well showing no obvious erosion. We did see waves washing over the high high tide line and filling up the high tide pool there, and the waves were rolling directly into the oceanfront marsh at Jack's Creek almost filling that marsh to the low dune line. Most of the birds typically at both of these locations were absent. Prior rains have added much water to Jack's Creek, enough to negatively affect the dike construction. With the weekend's very wet forecast, I believe that the folks building the dike will be taking a few days off.

   Birding was somewhat slow, no big surprise given the persistent rain. We tallied 28 species on the survey proper, 34 species on the island, and 18 species on the ferry. Our eBird checklist for the island is appended, below. The best sighting was a Peregrine Falcon apparently diving after a White Ibis. The falcon missed that catch but left us wondering why it would be chasing such a large bird. We also tallied 5 Reddish Egrets in Jack's Creek, two Bald Eagles perched together treetop, 100 Caspian Terns that formed the majority of a mixed flock of shorebirds/gulls/terns resting in Jack's, and a couple of Seaside Sparrows behind the island docks.

   Non avian sightings of interest were limited to a few butterflies that we saw before the rains began in earnest. Mosquitoes were about but mostly knocked down by the steady winds.

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

Th 15 Oct 2015 5.7 ft high tide forecast at 9:49 AM
Fri 16 Oct 2015 5.6 ft high tide forecast at 10:22 AM
Sat 17 Oct 2015 5.5 ft high tide forecast at 10:59 AM

Stay tuned for final plans.


Cape Romain NWR--Bulls Island, Charleston, South Carolina, US
Oct 1, 2015 9:30 AM - 2:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
13.999 mile(s)
Comments:     Conducting the ongoing Bulls Island waterfowl/shorebird survey with Jeff Kline. Effort: 1 hr 30 min and 12 mi by vehicle plus 3.0 hr and 2.0 mi by foot. Weather: heavy overcast, trace of rain in AM, rain beginning at noon; temps 75 F to 77 F at noon dropping to 71 F by 3:00 PM; winds N at 5 mph to 10 mph in AM increasing to 10 mph to 12 mph after noon; barometer steady at 29.77 in Hg. Tide was forecast 6.54 ft high at 10:56 AM, actual tide (Charleston harbor) 7.61 ft at 11:18 AM (flood stage is 7 ft).  <br />Submitted from BirdLog NA for iOS, version 1.6.3
34 species (+1 other taxa)

Mottled Duck  18
Blue-winged Teal  35
Wood Stork  6
Double-crested Cormorant  1
Brown Pelican  45
Great Blue Heron  6
Great Egret  19
Snowy Egret  25
Tricolored Heron  2
Reddish Egret  5
Black-crowned Night-Heron  3
White Ibis  33
Osprey  3
Bald Eagle  2     2 mature
Grey Plover  2
Semipalmated Plover  55
Greater Yellowlegs  13
Willet  16
Ruddy Turnstone  2
Sanderling  2
Western Sandpiper  3
peep sp.  60     Western Sandpiper or Semipalmated Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher  3
Laughing Gull  31
Herring Gull  5
Caspian Tern  101     Most in a mixed flock with shorebirds, Royal Terns, Laughing Gulls, Sandwich Tern, and Mottled Ducks.
Forster's Tern  9
Royal Tern  30
Sandwich Tern  1
Black Skimmer  35
Belted Kingfisher  4
Peregrine Falcon  1
Northern Mockingbird  2
Seaside Sparrow  2
Northern Cardinal  3

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

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