Date: 1/31/18 9:59 am
From: Harry LeGrand (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Re: Small bird mortality in NC salt marsh during harsh winters
I note with some interest that there were birders in the CBC meeting area
who saw some nice birds that were not reported at the CBC meeting countdown
on Saturday night.

Harry LeGrand

On Wed, Jan 31, 2018 at 12:41 PM, "Shultz, Steven" <carolinabirds...>

> I tromped through the marsh at Ft. Fisher last weekend during the CBC
> winter meeting. Went out about a hundred yards, and then back along a
> slightly different route. Kicked up 2 Seaside, 3 Sedge Wren, and 3
> sharptail sp. that would not perch up for species-specific identification.
> This is pretty much "normal" based on my efforts at the same spot over
> different years. I'll also note that the tide was low, which is not the
> most productive for looking at marsh sparrows/wrens.
> I looked on eBird to see if there appeared to be any significant
> difference in reports of Saltmarsh Sparrow for January 2018 vs. 2017 and
> 2016. 2016 had the fewest reports in NC, with 2017 and 2018 being about
> the same. Saltmarshs are wintering on Cape Cod, which I presume to have a
> more severe winter (and winters in general) than here, but without apparent
> reduction in presence (i.e. eBird shows pretty consistent sightings in
> January year over year).
> So not sure that I'm convinced that the marsh sparrows were taken out in
> one fell swoop, but certainly an interesting conversation.
> Steve Shultz
> Apex, NC
> -----Original Message-----
> From: <carolinabirds-request...> [mailto:carolinabirds-request@
>] On Behalf Of Christopher Hill
> Sent: Wednesday, January 31, 2018 12:10 PM
> To: Gilbert Grant
> Cc: <carolinabirds...>
> Subject: Re: Small bird mortality in NC salt marsh during harsh winters
> Gilbert,
> Before the storm, how common were the sparrows and wrens in the marsh?
> Were any other species, such as Clapper Rails, affected?
> Chris Hill
> Conway, SC
> > On Jan 31, 2018, at 8:06 AM, Gilbert Grant <carolinabirds...>
> wrote:
> >
> >
> > I was conducting bird surveys in a 14 hectare marsh (mostly Spartina and
> Juncus) near Surf City, NC, for 4 winters during the late 1980’s. The
> blizzard of 1989 that John Fussell referred to deposited a record 38 cm of
> snow in the area on 22-23 December 1989. Temperatures remained below
> freezing from 22-26 December with the extreme low of -19 C recorded in
> nearby Jacksonville during this time. Populations of both Sharp-tailed
> Sparrows (before AOU split this species) and Marsh Wrens plummeted to zero
> in this marsh and did not recover over the remaining winter months.
> However, populations returned to normal levels by 1991. In case anyone is
> interested Bill Kirby-Smith and I published a note on this in the Journal
> of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society 108(3):145-148, 1992. I did not
> encounter any dead individuals of these species which was not surprising
> due to their small size and the dense marsh vegetation.
> >
> > Gilbert S. Grant
> > Sneads Ferry ,NC
> > Sent from my iPhone

Join us on Facebook!