09 June 2016

T.S. Colin leaves little more than gentle rain and gentle winds.

Th 9 June 2016

This past Tuesday dawned with cloud bands interspersed with sunshine and nearly calm waters after Tropical Storm Colin passed by overnight. Colin, formed in the Gulf of Mexico, very quickly crossed Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina overnight before speeding out into the North Atlantic leaving tropical storm warnings along the coast but little else. Relatively gentle WNW winds were the only remnant other than 1.76 inches of rain left on the island. However with two named tropical storms since our last waterfowl/shorebird survey (T.S. Bonnie, 28 May 2016 through 31 May 2016 and T.S. Colin, 6 June 2016), the rain has partially refilled Jack's Creek that had been nearly dry at the last survey. Fortunately, there appears to be no noticeable North Beach erosion from this pair of named storms. Surprisingly the dike construction crew has made appreciable progress on the new dike since our last visit.

Cathy Miller and Nike Pappas joined me for Tuesday's survey. Coastal Expeditions (CEX) once again graciously got us out to the island and brought us back at the end of the day. CEX's Captain Wil Christenson even joined us for about an hour at the beginning of our survey and helped us look for for a recently reported Purple Gallinule, which we failed to locate. We were rewarded with a beautiful day of sunny skies, warm temperatures, consistent winds, and modest humidity. We did keep our eyes open for any possible avian vagrants that may have been blown in by the passing Colin, but saw none. We tallied 65 species on the island, 41 species on the survey proper. Our eBird checklist for the island is appended, below, FYI.

Though the birds are now in full-on summer mode on Bulls, there were a few interesting sightings. We had Black-bellied Whistling Ducks (a life list sighting for Nike), a female Black Scoter, our FOS sighting of a Reddish Egret (another life list species for Nike), a pair of Osprey juveniles (hatchlings not yet fledged from the nest) being tended to by both parents, Black-bellied Plovers (listed below as Grey Plover), Sanderlings, Western Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Short-billed Dowitchers, and my first ever up-close and perched (i.e., not on the wing) Common Nighthawk. CEX's First Mate Nick Johnson also found us a Common Loon still in basic (non-breeding) plumage swimming in the salt water marsh. 

Non-avian sightings of interest included fox squirrel, Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, alligators, and numerous butterflies, dragonflies, and damselflies. 

Looking ahead at the tidal calendar and my personal calendar suggests the following date to consider for our next survey:

Sat 25 June 2016 4.8 ft high tide forecast at 11:58 AM


Cape Romain NWR--Bulls Island, Charleston, South Carolina, US
Jun 7, 2016 9:45 AM - 3:39 PM
Protocol: Traveling
12.399 mile(s)
Comments:     Conducting the ongoing Bulls Island waterfowl/shorebird survey with Cathy Miller and Nike Pappas. Effort: 9.2 mi and 1 hr 30 min by vehicle plus 3.25 mi and 4 hr 30 min by foot. Weather: T.S.Colin overnight passed from the Gulf of Mexico across FL, GA, and SC then quickly offshore into the Atlantic leaving cloud bands interspersed with sunshine that quickly cleared to sunny skies with only modest humidity; temps 75 F to 87 F; AM winds WNW at 15 mph to 20 mph, PM winds WNW at 10 mph to 13 mph; waters were surprisingly calm though there were appreciable waves where Bulls Bay met the Atlantic Ocean; barometer rose from 29.66 in Hg to 29.70 in Hg. Tide was forecast 5.0 ft high at 10:23 AM.  <br />Submitted from eBird for iOS, version 1.2.1 Build 65
65 species (+1 other taxa)

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck  3
Wood Duck  2
Mottled Duck  12
Black Scoter  1     In small breakers off North Beach. Scope view of 1 female.
Wood Stork  1
Double-crested Cormorant  6
Anhinga  14
Brown Pelican  108     A fairly accurate count.
Least Bittern  7
Great Blue Heron  5
Great Egret  9
Snowy Egret  30
Tricolored Heron  6
Reddish Egret  1
Green Heron  17
Black-crowned Night-Heron  5
White Ibis  16
Glossy Ibis  1
Black Vulture  4
Turkey Vulture  7
Osprey  5     3 mature plus 2 nestlings
Clapper Rail  1
Common Gallinule  15
Black-necked Stilt  12
American Oystercatcher  3
Grey Plover  8     An accurate count. None appeared to show alternate plumage, all showed basic plumage.
Wilson's Plover  9
Semipalmated Plover  22     A fairly accurate count.
Killdeer  2
Willet  9
Ruddy Turnstone  8     A fairly accurate count.
Sanderling  41     A fairly accurate count.
Semipalmated Sandpiper  58     A fairly accurate count.
Western Sandpiper  2     Scope views in good light at modest distance. Both showed moderately long, slightly decurved bills.
peep sp.  16     Too distant to ID beyond 'peep' spp.
Short-billed Dowitcher  52     An accurate count.
Laughing Gull  61
Herring Gull  1
Least Tern  4
Gull-billed Tern  23     A fairly accurate count.
Caspian Tern  1     Red bill, dark primary wing tips below on wings.
Forster's Tern  5
Royal Tern  72
Sandwich Tern  10
Black Skimmer  3
Yellow-billed Cuckoo  3
Common Nighthawk  5
Great Crested Flycatcher  1
Eastern Kingbird  1
Barn Swallow  8
Carolina Chickadee  4
Marsh Wren  4
Carolina Wren  3
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher  1
Northern Mockingbird  12
Common Yellowthroat  1
Yellow-throated Warbler  3
Summer Tanager  4
Northern Cardinal  10
Indigo Bunting  1
Painted Bunting  3
Red-winged Blackbird  29
Common Grackle  4
Boat-tailed Grackle  10
Brown-headed Cowbird  4
Orchard Oriole  3

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

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