21 December 2016

A good survey for ducks

It was a great day for ducks on Bulls this past Saturday for the ongoing waterfowl/shorebird survey. Chris Snook joined me for the survey and the ferry ride out on the Coastal Expeditions' Caretta ferry. CEX's Captain Wil Christenson and First Mate Nick Johnson really wanted to join the survey effort with us, but their ferry schedule precluded their survey efforts. 

We tallied 42 species on the survey proper and 59 species on the island for the day. Our eBird checklist is appended below, FYI. First thing we did at Jack's Creek was watch five Common Goldeneye ducks fly into view then bank and splash down right in front of us. Mark up another new species for the survey! (Maybe this species was recorded before I began my efforts, but it's new for me on the island.) Other duck species were well represented as well including Gadwall, American Widgeon, Northern Shoveler, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Ruddy Duck, and others. Winter resident shorebirds were well represented by the usual high numbers of Dunlin and Western Sandpiper plus a couple of Piping Plovers (neither banded or flagged). 

Jack's Creek remains mostly full of water and the dike construction appears to have temporarily halted, though the dike is tantalizing close to completion. The North Beach continues to have very few birds at all, perhaps because we have been hitting it a little too late after high tide. Meanwhile the oceanfront saltwater marsh at Jack's Creek continues to host high numbers of shorebirds. 

We also saw a few American alligators, Atlantic bottle-nose dolphin, canine tracks (hopefully a wayward dog rather than a large-footed coyote), and a few mosquitoes. 

Looking ahead at the tidal calendar and at the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) calendar, I think that I'll let the Monday 2 Jan 2017 CBC, with a 5.2 ft high tide at 10:07 AM, do double duty as the waterfowl/shorebird survey. Looking beyond that suggests the following dates to consider for our next survey:

Mon 16 Jan 2017 5.3 ft high tide forecast at 10:28 AM
Tues 17 Jan 2017 5.0 ft high tide forecast at 11:12 AM

Stay tuned for final plans.


Cape Romain NWR--Bulls Island, Charleston, South Carolina, US
Dec 17, 2016 10:59 AM - 2:33 PM
Protocol: Traveling
9.4 mile(s)
Comments:     Conducting the ongoing Bulls Island water/shorebird survey with Chris Snook. Effort: 7.9 mi and 0 hr 51 min by truck plus 1.5 mi and 3 hr 34 min by foot. Weather: sunny and cool; temps 42 F to 69 F; AM winds N at <= 5 mph shifting midday to S at <= 5 mph; barometer 1023 hPa dropping to 1019 hPa. Tide was forecast 5.9 ft high at 10:06 AM.
59 species

Wood Duck  3
Gadwall  87
American Wigeon  40
Mottled Duck  7
Blue-winged Teal  8
Northern Shoveler  32
Redhead  8
Ring-necked Duck  4
Lesser Scaup  20
Black Scoter  107
Bufflehead  114     A fairly accurate count.
Common Goldeneye  5     Flew and landed directly in front of us. Distinct yellow-golden eye. Male had clear white plumage circular patch between eye and bill and striking black and white body plumage.
Hooded Merganser  22
Red-breasted Merganser  1
Ruddy Duck  109     A fairly accurate count.
Pied-billed Grebe  47
Double-crested Cormorant  37
American White Pelican  26
Brown Pelican  9
Great Blue Heron  1
Great Egret  5
Snowy Egret  8
Little Blue Heron  2
Tricolored Heron  3
White Ibis  2
Turkey Vulture  5
Osprey  2
Sharp-shinned Hawk  1
Bald Eagle  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  2
Common Gallinule  18
American Coot  115
Grey Plover  8
Semipalmated Plover  59
Piping Plover  2     None was banded or flagged.
Ruddy Turnstone  4
Sanderling  20
Dunlin  790     A fairly accurate estimate.
Least Sandpiper  1
Western Sandpiper  200     A fairly accurate estimate.
Short-billed Dowitcher  9
Greater Yellowlegs  2
Willet  12
Ring-billed Gull  30
Herring Gull  3
Great Black-backed Gull  6
Forster's Tern  2
Mourning Dove  1
Belted Kingfisher  3
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  2
Peregrine Falcon  1
Eastern Phoebe  3
Blue-headed Vireo  1
Carolina Wren  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  20
Savannah Sparrow  3
Song Sparrow  1
Boat-tailed Grackle  25

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

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