Yesterday Roger Smith and I were privileged to bird around the middle section of Cape Romain NWR by boat with Captain John Cox. Birding was a bit slow compared to normal this time of year but it was still good fun.
There was also a Whimbrel in loose association with the Curlews and a few dozen American Oystercatchers at a high tide roost. I hope the Whimbrel sticks around for the CBC. Across the inlet was a small group of American White Pelicans.
It was a windy day so we did not do well with rails or marsh sparrows.
On the way to Marsh Island (in the middle of Bulls Bay), we stopped at a half-destroyed dock on the Intracoastal Waterway near Graham Creek. There were several dozen Marbled Godwits and Short-billed Dowitchers roosting on the dock, packed like sardines. No unusual Godwits we could see though.
Marsh Island was tricky to access as always and a lot of spartina marsh has emerged to the north/northwest. It was nice to see Marsh Island weathered Hurricane Irma - sadly the same cannot be said of all SC's seabird nesting islands. I have heard that Deveaux Bank is in pitiful shape.
There were surprisingly few shorebirds roosting at high tide - highlights were a Piping Plover, a few hundred mixed peeps (Western + Least Sandpipers) and Dunlin, a handful of Sanderlings and lots of Ruddy Turnstones. No early Short-eared Owls were roosting in the grasses of Marsh Island. No Ipswich Sparrows yet either.
Back on the ICW we saw shorebirds roosting on several docks waiting for the tide to drop. One dock had lots of peeps and Dunlin, another had Semipalmated Sanpdipers and we missed getting down to Moore's Landing in time to catch the big high tide godwit roost.
After checking things down south, we ran back up and across Muddy Bay to seek the Curlews. There were not many Buffleheads, Mergansers, Grebes, etc. - just a few Buffleheads, two Common Loons and zero mergansers and grebes.
The most surprising thing about the day was the complete lack of Peregrine Falcon sightings.