17 October 2015

16 Oct 2015 A slow day's birding survey after the recent deluge, but a few good sightings

Fri 16 Oct 2015

   Jill Midgett and Justin Johnson joined me today for the ongoing Bulls Island waterfowl/shorebird survey. Coastal Expeditions (CEX), specifically Captain Richard Stuhr and First Mate Nick Johnson, treated us well in hauling us out to the island. Unfortunately, both Justin and I had to leave the island at the end of the day while Jill stayed. As a matter of fact, Jill is staying the whole weekend there on one of CEX's 3-day 2-night outings to Bulls. Sigh! Book your overnight outings early, very early. And check out CEX's very popular Long-billed Curlew excursion out of McClellenville scheduled for Sun 6 Dec 2015 (http://www.bullsislandferry.com/).

   Even after the recent heavy rains (1 Oct 2015 through 5 Oct 2015; 18 inches to 20 inches, maybe more), I find it amazing that Jack's Creek is COMPLETELY FULL of water again after several months of draw-down for the new dike construction, but it is. I suspect that the new dike construction will be postponed until the water levels can again be drawn down. It took months before. But…the island was in very good shape today given the record rainfall. Only the usual damp spots in the roads were still damp. The beaches received differing amounts of erosion that was greatest on the front beach (the largest front dunes almost completely eroded) and Boneyard Beach (about 10 yards of erosion) and least on the North Beach (only a small cut in the dunes). The maintenance crew, assisted by some of the CEX staff, have really worked hard and long repairing roads, inspecting dikes, repairing the docks, and cutting the grass.

   The birding on Bulls today was slow. We tallied 24 species on the ferry, 55 species on the island (our eBird checklist is appended below, FYI), 59 species on the day's outing, and only 30 target species on the survey proper. Our only waterfowl were two Blue-winged Teal (although several of the CEX folks reported seeing three Black-bellied Whistling Ducks at the Dominick House). We tallied only 9 total individuals of only 4 species in Jack's Creek! Upper Summerhouse Pond was similarly nearly devoid of birds. We saw only a few birds on the North Beach, but that did include 3 Piping Plovers (one of which sported leg bands). There were many birds on the sand bar offshore of the North Beach. We did have our first-of-season Dunlin and 8 Reddish Egrets. Other notable birds included a Peregrine Falcon, several Bald Eagles, and good numbers of Royal Terns.

   Our non-avian sightings included high numbers of butterflies (Monarch, gulf fritillary, zebra longwing, sulphur, buckeye, and others), a bobcat, and Atlantic bottle-nose dolphin. I also photographed two putative canine tracks in the dunes of the North Beach. 

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

Fri 30 Oct 2015 6.5 ft high tide forecast at 10:33 AM
Sat 31 Oct 2015 6.2 ft high tide forecast at 11:26 AM

Stay tune for updated plans.


Cape Romain NWR--Bulls Island, Charleston, South Carolina, US
Oct 16, 2015 9:56 AM - 2:56 PM
Protocol: Traveling
13.999 mile(s)
Comments:     Conducting the ongoing Bulls Island waterfowl/shorebird survey with Jill Midgett and Justin Johnson. Effort: 11.0 mi and 1 hr 30 min by vehicle plus 3.0 mi and 3 hr 30 min by foot. Weather: clear, sunny, light winds; temps 68 F to 81 F; winds W to SW at <= 4 mph; barometer 30.10 in Hg and steady. High tide was forecast 5.6 ft at 11:22 AM; Charleston harbor tide was 6.0 ft at 11:00 AM.  <br />Submitted from BirdLog NA for iOS, version 1.6.3
55 species

Blue-winged Teal  2
Pied-billed Grebe  4
Double-crested Cormorant  159     Total of some accurate counts plus some reasonable guesstimates.
American White Pelican  8
Brown Pelican  50
Great Blue Heron  2
Great Egret  3
Snowy Egret  1
Little Blue Heron  1     1 immature.
Tricolored Heron  2
Reddish Egret  8     7 In the oceanfront marsh at Jack's Creek, one on sandbar off North Beach.
Black-crowned Night-Heron  2
White Ibis  8
Turkey Vulture  4
Osprey  2
Cooper's Hawk  1
Bald Eagle  3     3 mature.
Clapper Rail  2
Common Gallinule  24
American Avocet  2
Grey Plover  4
Semipalmated Plover  40
Piping Plover  3     One banded as follows: green, orange with a blue-green spot, Aluminum, and green with orange stripe for lower L, upper L, upper R, and lower R, respectively.
Greater Yellowlegs  2
Willet  21
Marbled Godwit  37     On sandbar off North Beach. A fairly accurate count.
Ruddy Turnstone  3
Sanderling  12
Dunlin  15     First of the season.
Semipalmated Sandpiper  2     Seen among numerous Western Sandpipers. Short straight bills.
Western Sandpiper  100
Short-billed Dowitcher  80
Laughing Gull  70
Herring Gull  4
Royal Tern  200     Estimate. Most flushed before a count could be attempted.
Sandwich Tern  3
Mourning Dove  1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  1
Belted Kingfisher  6
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  2
Peregrine Falcon  1     1 immature.
Eastern Phoebe  8
American Crow  1
Tree Swallow  800
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher  1
Grey Catbird  2
Brown Thrasher  1
Northern Mockingbird  3
Palm Warbler  2
Seaside Sparrow  2
Savannah Sparrow  2
Northern Cardinal  4
Red-winged Blackbird  20
Boat-tailed Grackle  3

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

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