Fri 8 July 2016
Jeff Kline joined me for yesterday's waterfowl/shorebird survey. Coastal Expeditions joyfully hauled us out and back; they had a good day with so many passengers showing up that they needed two ferries to get everyone out to the island. Captains Wil Christenson and Gates Roll and First Mate Nick Johnson gave us their usual first class treatment. Wil and Nick knew just where to see the female Red-breasted Merganser hanging out in the marshes of Bulls Bay.
We tallied 43 species on the survey proper, 63 species on the island, and 68 species on the day's outing. Our eBird checklist from the island is appended below, FYI.
There were two recent posts to the Carolinabirds listserv proclaiming the beginning of fall shorebird migration. Steve Shultz reported a Solitary Sandpiper in Dare County, NC, on 24 June and Audrey Whitlock reported Western Sandpipers along Split Pea Inlet, NC, on 26 June. I thought that each was a bit too eager to declare the beginning of fall migration, but after Thursday's survey, I'm in full agreement. We tallied a banded Piping Plover showing full-on alternate (breeding) plumage, several Lesser Yellowlegs, and almost 50 Western Sandpipers.
We tallied Gull-billed Terns from each and every survey location on the island. I don't recall any one survey having tallied any species at every survey site before.
Other avian sightings of note include Red-breasted Merganser (predictably and reliably hanging out in Bulls Bay along the ferry route), Reddish Egret, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Black-crowned Night-Herons are much more common on Bulls), an Osprey juvenile still on the nest, Swallow-tailed Kite, Mississippi Kite (at Garris Landing), Clapper Rail (actually very uncommon on the survey proper), Marbled Godwit, Whimbrel, Black Tern, Common Tern, and Belted Kingfisher (fairly uncommon during summer).
Non-avian sightings of note included Atlantic bottle-nose dolphin and butterflies. Sarah Dawsey, the refuge manager, reported that she had tallied 65 (I think that was the number) turtle nests on the day and they hadn't even surveyed Bulls Island yet; they headed out to look for turtle crawls on Bulls after we returned to Garris Landing about 4:30 PM.
Looking ahead at the tidal calendar suggests the following dates to consider for our next survey:
Fri 22 July 2016 5.0 ft high tide forecast at 10:03 AM
Sat 23 July 2016 5.1 ft high tide forecast at 10:51 AM
Cape Romain NWR--Bulls Island, Charleston, South Carolina, US
Jul 7, 2016 9:42 AM - 3:23 PM
Comments: Conducting the ongoing Bulls Island waterfowl/shorebird survey with Jeff Kline. Effort: 10.2 mi and 1 hr 30 min by vehicle plus 4.4 mi and 4 hr 15 min by foot. Weather: sunny, hot, and humid; temps 80 F to 94 F; AM winds WNW at 10 mph to 15 mph, PM winds SE to W at 5 mph to 10 mph; barometer steady at 30.06 in Hg in AM, dropping to 30.00 in Hg after noon. Tide was forecast 4.9 ft high at 10:51 AM. <br />Submitted from eBird for iOS, version 1.2.2 Build 70
Mottled Duck 17
Double-crested Cormorant 4
Brown Pelican 19
Least Bittern 3
Great Blue Heron 7
Great Egret 11
Snowy Egret 20
Little Blue Heron 5
Tricolored Heron 4
Reddish Egret 1
Green Heron 12
Black-crowned Night-Heron 5
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 2
White Ibis 5
Glossy Ibis 10
Black Vulture 1
Turkey Vulture 4
Osprey 6 5 mature plus 1 juvenile still on the nest.
Swallow-tailed Kite 2
Clapper Rail 1
Common Gallinule 15
American Coot 1 Close view. Dark rail, white bill.
Black-necked Stilt 19
American Oystercatcher 3
Grey Plover 26 A fairly accurate count. None showed alternate plumage.
Wilson's Plover 15
Semipalmated Plover 4
Piping Plover 1 In full alternate plumage. Banded: Orange flag UL ( no apparent alphanumeric code); Yellow over Green LL: metal UR; Orange LR.
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Lesser Yellowlegs 11 An accurate count.
Whimbrel 2 An accurate count. Large shorebird with streaked crown and long, decurved bill.
Marbled Godwit 3 An accurate count. Large, warm/cinnamon plumage; straight, bicolored bill. Seen in mixed shorebird flock adjacent to Willets, Whimbrel, Short-billed Dowitcher, and smaller shorebirds.
Ruddy Turnstone 11 A fairly accurate count.
Sanderling 15 A fairly accurate count. Showing very pale basic plumage colors and dark straight bill. Seen with Western Sandpipers, Semiplamated Sandpipers, and Black-bellied Plovers.
Semipalmated Sandpiper 24 A fairly accurate count. Seen adjacent to Western Sandpipers. Showing intermediate straight bills.
Western Sandpiper 49 A fairly accurate count. Seen adjacent to Semiplamated Sandpipers. Distinctly long bills with decurved tips.
Short-billed Dowitcher 45
Laughing Gull 34
Least Tern 7
Gull-billed Tern 27 Seen at each survey site.
Black Tern 1 A small very dark tern (black back and head fading to dark gray breast).
Common Tern 1 Small term showing short legs, long primary projection, white forehead with black band around head, bicolored bill, and faint carpel bars.
Royal Tern 16
Sandwich Tern 13
Black Skimmer 66
Mourning Dove 3
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 2
Common Nighthawk 2
Belted Kingfisher 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 2
Barn Swallow 4
Carolina Chickadee 3
Marsh Wren 3
Carolina Wren 2
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher 1
Northern Mockingbird 1
Northern Cardinal 3
Painted Bunting 5
Red-winged Blackbird 10
Boat-tailed Grackle 6
Orchard Oriole 1
View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S30604028
This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (/content/iss)