23 July 2016

Good raptor sightings, an early warbler, and many Wilson's Plovers

Sat 23 July 2016

   Cathy Miller and Jeff Kline joined me yesterday for the ongoing Bulls Island waterfowl/shorebird survey. Coastal Expeditions generously provided what they called a "Yamaha wind" for the ferry ride out to the island; that wind was a wonderful respite from a very hot, very humid morning with absolutely calm winds. Fortunately the natural wind did pick up to be a gentle breeze through the day and the mercury stayed mercifully low to give us a very warm and humid day's outing. Thanks to both Captain Wil Christenson and First Mate Nick Johnson and to CEX for their continued support.

   As an update to the 7 July 2016 survey...we sighted a banded Piping Plover, reported it to Alice Van Zoeren of the Michigan Piping Plover group, and received this reply from Alice about that sighting:

Exciting news. This is our first report of the 2016-17 non-breeding season! The plover you saw is known as "Bahama Mama". She breeds at Muskegon, MI and winters in the Bahamas. She and her mate lost all three of the chicks they hatched this summer so apparently she has no reason to stay up north. She hatched at Ludington, MI in 2013 and was given her unique band combination in the Bahamas when she was trapped there in 2015.

Thanks for letting us know.

Our 14-year-old fellow is still up here and sitting on eggs that aren't due to hatch until the 12th. It's a very late nest for the first male back up here. He had bad luck with a couple of prospective mates before finally getting some eggs to incubate. Hope he makes it back to SC. I'll be looking forward to your report.

   That "14-year-old fellow" that Alice mentions is their "Old Man Plover" whom we've seen for several years on the survey. Good news. Read more about Old Man Plover and see photographs of him on my 18 Feb 2016 blog report [http://birdingbulls.blogspot.com/2016/02/report-from-our-2-day-overnight-survey.html] and my 17 Nov 2015 blog report [http://birdingbulls.blogspot.com/2015/11/tues-17-nov-2015-survey-lowcountry-snow.html].

   Now about yesterday's survey, we tallied 45 species on the survey proper, 65 species on the island, and 73 species on the day's outing. Our eBird checklist from the island is appended below, FYI. Sightings of note include 17 Black-bellied Whistling Ducks (including 6 juvenile ducklings, clear evidence that they're breeding on Bulls now!), Swallow-tailed Kite, Mississippi Kite, Red-shouldered Hawk, 32 Wilson's Plovers (wondering if many were juveniles from this year's breeding?), Sanderling (many in alternate, breeding plumage), Western Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, and a Palm Warbler. The MIKI and RSHA sightings were unexpectedly good finds as neither are seen regularly on the island. The juvenile nestling Osprey on the Lower Summerhouse Pond nest on 7 July was not there yesterday; hopefully it fledged successfully. We did see several Osprey, maybe one was that fledgling.

   We also saw Monarch and giant swallowtail butterflies, Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, fox squirrels, and presumptive feline foot prints through the dunes. Reports from the turtle patrol show that there are 2277 nests in the Cape Romain NWR Refuge this summer (as of yesterday, and still counting), far surpassing last year's record of 1930 nests.

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

Fri 5 Aug 2016 5.1 ft high tide forecast at 10:22 AM
Sat 6 Aug 2016 50 ft high tide forecast at 11:06 AM


Cape Romain NWR--Bulls Island, Charleston, South Carolina, US
Jul 22, 2016 9:40 AM - 3:06 PM
Protocol: Traveling
13.4 mile(s)
Comments:     Conducting the ongoing Bulls Island waterfowl/shorebird survey with Cathy Miller and Jeff Kline. Effort: 10.2 mi and 1 hr 30 min by vehicle plus 3.2 mi and 3 hr 55 min by foot. Weather: sunny, warm, and humid; 85 F to 89 F; EES winds about 5 mph; barometer 30.12 in Hg falling to 30.09 in Hg. Tide was forecast 5.9 ft high at 10:03 AM.  <br />Submitted from eBird for iOS, version 1.2.2 Build 70
65 species (+2 other taxa)

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck  17     6 juvenile ducklings plus 11 mature.
Mottled Duck  14
Pied-billed Grebe  3
Wood Stork  1
Double-crested Cormorant  33     A fairly accurate count.
Anhinga  9
Brown Pelican  20
Least Bittern  3
Great Blue Heron  13
Great Egret  28
Snowy Egret  38
Little Blue Heron  1
Tricolored Heron  5
Reddish Egret  2
Green Heron  2
Black-crowned Night-Heron  7
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron  1
White Ibis  15
Glossy Ibis  1
Black Vulture  2
Turkey Vulture  3
Osprey  3
Swallow-tailed Kite  5
Mississippi Kite  5
Red-shouldered Hawk  1
Common Gallinule  24
Black-necked Stilt  15
American Oystercatcher  6
Grey Plover  36     A fairly accurate count.
Wilson's Plover  32     A fairly accurate count.
Semipalmated Plover  4
Killdeer  4
Spotted Sandpiper  5     An accurate count.
Willet  15
Lesser Yellowlegs  3     An accurate count.
Whimbrel  5
Ruddy Turnstone  1
Sanderling  140     A fairly accurate count.
Least Sandpiper  1
Semipalmated Sandpiper  10     A fairly accurate count.
Western Sandpiper  10
peep sp.  25     Too distant to be confident of species ID.
Short-billed Dowitcher  34
Laughing Gull  49
Herring Gull  3
Least Tern  22
Gull-billed Tern  21     A fairly accurate count.
Black Tern  5
Common Tern  1
Royal Tern  231     A rough count. Many on sand bar off the North Beach.
Sandwich Tern  10
Black Skimmer  214     A rough count. Many on sand bar off the North Beach.
Mourning Dove  3
Belted Kingfisher  3     An accurate count.
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Blue Jay  2
crow sp.  2
Barn Swallow  4
Tufted Titmouse  1
Marsh Wren  4
Carolina Wren  1
Palm Warbler  1     Warbler flew into tree at close range for good, quick binocular view. Yellow vent, pumping tail.
Northern Cardinal  2
Painted Bunting  10
Red-winged Blackbird  24
Boat-tailed Grackle  4
Orchard Oriole  1

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

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