Date: 4/4/17 6:22 pm
From: Joelle Buffa <clyde_joelle...>
Subject: [Va-bird] Chincoteague NWR Shorebird Survey
 
Below are the results of our weekly shorebird/gull survey conducted at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Mon. April 3, 2017  All water areas (impoundments and beach areas) were covered in the 6 hour survey. All individuals are counted for the target species; other birds seen or heard on the survey are followed by a dash. 
It was a great shorebird survey on the Refuge. It reminds us of why we have enjoyed these weekly surveys so much through the past eight years. We get to see the natural rhythms of nature through the passage of birds as the seasons evolve. We wonder which species will show up or depart each week (knowing which ones should be coming and going based on past years), welcoming them for another migration or nesting season; saying goodbye until some wing south again after nesting. We just can't beat this connection with nature through volunteer work that helps the Refuge while giving us so much satisfaction.
We saw 1,482 individual shorebirds of 15 species. Not a particularly high number of individuals but good diversity. Our numbers may have been down because before we got into position to survey them, a tour boat in the Assateague Channel flushed the birds off the exposed oyster reefs where we have found high numbers of shorebirds in the past month. Dunlin were the most common species 568 followed by Sanderling 437, Willet 148 and Greater Yellowlegs 110.
The surprise shorebird of the day was a Wilson's Snipe. This is a species that is probably common in the winter and migration but we never see them on our windshield surveys. Those who are walking through the vegetated wetlands doing plant surveys tell us they flush them all the time in the proper season.
Spring migration really showed itself this survey. First-of-the-Year species include Laughing Gull (though they have been in big numbers in the last week or so swarming around their nesting area along the Chincoteague Causeway), Osprey, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Cattle Egret, Barn Swallow and Yellow-throated Warbler. Other species were in much higher numbers than we have had earlier in the year: Double Crested Cormorant, American Oystercatcher, Piping Plover, Lesser Yellowlegs and Forester's Terns. Birds in fewer numbers than we have seen this year are the ducks (Long-tailed Duck is still hanging around in Tom's Cove), geese,Tundra Swan, Horned Grebe, Ring-billed Gulls. It all adds up to the "Seasons are a changing".
Our next survey will be April 10Clyde Morris and Joelle Buffa
| Snow Goose | -- |
| Canada Goose | -- |
| Tundra Swan | -- |
| Wood Duck | -- |
| Gadwall | -- |
| American Wigeon | -- |
| American Black Duck | -- |
| Mallard | -- |
| Northern Shoveler | -- |
| Northern Pintail | -- |
| Green-winged Teal | -- |
| Surf/Black Scoter | -- |
| Long-tailed Duck | -- |
| Bufflehead | -- |
| Red-breasted Merganser | -- |
| Red-throated Loon | 9 |
| Common Loon | 37 |
| Horned Grebe | 33 |
| Northern Gannet | 152 |
| Double-crested Cormorant | 108 |
| Great Blue Heron | -- |
| Great Egret | -- |
| Snowy Egret | -- |
| Little Blue Heron | -- |
| Tricolored Heron | -- |
| Cattle Egret | -- |
| Glossy Ibis | -- |
| Black Vulture | -- |
| Turkey Vulture | -- |
| Osprey | -- |
| Bald Eagle | -- |
| Clapper Rail | -- |
| American Oystercatcher | 42 |
| Black-bellied Plover | 33 |
| Semipalmated Plover | 2 |
| Piping Plover | 44 |
| Killdeer | 4 |
| Marbled Godwit | 35 |
| Ruddy Turnstone | 3 |
| Sanderling | 437 |
| Dunlin | 568 |
| Pectoral Sandpiper | 3 |
| Short-billed/Long-billed Dowitcher | 14 |
| Wilson's Snipe | 1 |
| Greater Yellowlegs | 110 |
| Willet | 148 |
| Lesser Yellowlegs | 62 |
| Greater/Lesser Yellowlegs | 3 |
| shorebird sp. | 15 |
| Laughing Gull | 8 |
| Ring-billed Gull | 63 |
| Herring Gull | 217 |
| Lesser Black-backed Gull | 44 |
| Great Black-backed Gull | 32 |
| Forster's Tern | 63 |
| Mourning Dove | -- |
| Northern Flicker | -- |
| Merlin | -- |
| Peregrine Falcon | -- |
| American Crow | -- |
| Fish Crow | -- |
| Tree Swallow | -- |
| Barn Swallow | -- |
| Carolina Chickadee | -- |
| Tufted Titmouse | -- |
| Brown-headed Nuthatch | -- |
| Blue-gray Gnatcatcher | -- |
| American Robin | -- |
| European Starling | -- |
| Pine Warbler | -- |
| Yellow-rumped Warbler | -- |
| Yellow-throated Warbler | -- |
| Field Sparrow | -- |
| White-throated Sparrow | -- |
| Song Sparrow | -- |
| Swamp Sparrow | -- |
| Eastern Towhee | -- |
| Northern Cardinal | -- |
| Red-winged Blackbird | -- |
| Eastern Meadowlark | -- |
| Common Grackle | -- |
| Boat-tailed Grackle | -- |
| Brown-headed Cowbird | -- |

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