After the storm.

Winds were good and southerly today, however two sever thunderstorms passed by from the west this morning.  Normally the morning flight of birds starts right after sunrise, but today it seemed like the morning flight didn’t begin until after the first storm.  At least 71 species were identified from the tower today, and 2,373 individual birds were counted.  Two of today’s species were new for the year at this site; Veery & Canada Warbler.  The tower’s year list is now 199.  I wonder what the 200th year bird will be!

The Northern Bobwhite that has been living here for a few days is still around, and a Forster’s Tern was seen.


Some of the fun counts from today include: 789 Blue Jays, 371 Cedar Waxwings, 10 Tennessee Warblers (a new all time high count for the tower), 43 Indigo Buntings (highest count of them here in 2018 so far), 86 Baltimore Orioles (highest count here in 2018), 152 American Goldfinches, & 220 Pine Siskins.  Yes, there are still many Pine Siskins to be counted!

The complete list from today can be viewed here…


Wrapping up the 2nd week of May.

On Tuesday, a Red Crossbill made an appearance at the tower.  Red Crossbills have several different types that can be distinguished if their vocalizations are recorded and analyzed.  Most if not all of the crossbills that passed the tower this Spring were type 2, the most frequent type in this part of the country.  Tuesday’s was identified as a type 4.  According to eBird, the only records of type 4 in Indiana were a number of observations that occurred in the Fall of 2017 here at Indiana Dunes State Park.

On Friday, an afternoon count was done.  Highlights included: the continuing Northern Bobwhite, a single flock of 21 Great Egrets (this number tied the all time high count for this site), a total of at least 5 American Woodcocks displaying, 1 Common Nighthawk, a late Dark-eyed Junco, & a Summer Tanager.  Some pictures were taken of the Junco, Tanager, and the local Eastern Kingbirds…






Here is the list from Friday afternoon.

Today, 65 species were observed from the tower, one was a new one for the year, Willow Flycatcher.  Other highlights included: the Northern Bobwhite, a Peregrine Falcon, the continuing Prairie Warbler, and a Lark Sparrow that visited the feeders.

Below are some pictures of the Bobwhite, Lark Sparrow, and a Lincoln’s Sparrow with White-crowned Sparrows.





Here is this morning‘s complete list.


Sounds of the past and the future.

Today, the 196th year bird was found by the tower, a Northern Bobwhite!  Hearing that bird sing really makes you feel like you’ve gone back in time at least a century.  It was first heard singing a ways west of the tower, but later on it was heard singing right by the bird feeders!  One low quality picture managed to be taken…


Hopefully this bird will stay around for the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival that takes place on the 17th-20th.  Another bird likely to stay is the Prairie Warbler that appears to have made his territory right next to the tower.


This southern species continues to expand its range northward, and it would be nice to see it nest this close to the tower.

No Fish Crows were seen today, but there have now been 3 Fish Crow observations from the tower this year.  This is another one that we are hoping might make an appearance during the festival.

The Northern Bobwhite & an Eastern Wood-Pewee from today were new additions for the year list.

Here is today’s complete list…

And here are a few more pictures from today…


Eastern Kingbirds


Eastern Towhee


Today’s winds were out of the south.  Mid morning, multiple waves of rain passed through the area including 2 that were heavy downpours.  75 species were found at the tower today, one was new for the year, Yellow-billed Cuckoo.


Other highlights include a Forster’s Tern, Peregrine Falcon, & Clay-colored Sparrow.  Species that peak around this time of year are still on the move including: 54 Eastern Kingbirds (highest count in 2018 so far), 246 Blue Jays, 80 Baltimore Orioles (highest count in 2018 so far), 51 Pine Siskins, & 219 American Goldfinches.

Lots of sparrows of several species were seen around the feeders today including: Chipping, Clay-colored, Field, White-crowned, Savannah, Lincoln’s & Eastern Towhee.

Below are a single Clay-colored Sparrow and a Chipping Sparrow & Savannah Sparrow together.




The complete list from today can be viewed here.

Reviewing this April… and today.

This April, 129 species of birds were found by the tower.  By April 30th, the tower’s year list was at 137; now that May is about a week old, it is at 193.  Totaling only the days I was at the tower in April, 57,450 birds were counted.

Today winds were light and out of the south.  75 species were found by the tower today.  Some highlights include: The Prairie Warbler that appears to be on territory, Lark Sparrow, 2 Summer Tanagers, a Blue Grosbeak, and a Red Crossbill.


Some of the nice numbers from today include: 37 Eastern Kingbirds, 1,208 Blue Jays, 42 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, 41 Indigo Buntings, & 57 Baltimore Orioles.

Here is today’s complete list…


Here we have a fun looking image to describe a moment of this morning’s weather.  As I stood on the shoreline, I could literally see the difference between land and sea.  Thick gray clouds, some even causing rainfall were over the land, and clear fair weather was over Lake Michigan.  A nice day to be on a boat as some people were.  The wind came from the southwest, sometimes faster than 30 m.p.h. in the morning, but the afternoon is now a clam sunny day.

91 species of birds were found by the tower today, 3 were new for the year.  Today’s new species include: Sora, Least Flycatcher, & Grasshopper Sparrow.

Even this late into the spring, there are still White-winged Scoters & Red-breasted Mergansers to be counted.  10 scoters & 28 RB Mergansers were counted today.

3 American Woodcocks were heard peenting pre-dawn; they are still eager to display, but I guess the strong wind kept them from gaining altitude.

Other species that have recently returned to the area are also eager to establish their territories and find mates.  A male Ruby-throated Hummingbird felt like a male Indigo Bunting was a threat, so it made the effort to chase it around.



A House Wren sang all day near the tower.  He seems to be looking at the bird house that has been looked at this spring by Eastern Bluebirds & Tree Swallows already.  He got extra excited, singing while displaying with wings open when a passing female briefly stopped to check him out, but she appeared to move on.



Siskins & Goldfinches were still migrating in good numbers as they have been this week.  313 Pine Siskins & 878 American Goldfinches were counted today.

Other highlights include a Merlin, Prairie Warbler, & Summer Tanager.

Here is today’s complete list…


Today’s fog conditions were rather interesting; mid morning, thick fog rolled in from Lake Michigan and immediately the temperature dropped 13 degrees.  The wind was generally light to calm and from the south.

88 species were found at the tower today, 7 of them were new for the year.  These new species were: Pied-billed GrebeAmerican BitternGreen HeronSemipalmated PloverCommon YellowthroatAmerican Redstart, and Dickcissel.


Seeing that Bittern flying towards the east was easily the best highlight of the day.  Every expectable swallow species was present today, and 12 species of warblers were found including 2 Prairie Warblers.

It’s really looking like early May now with certain species passing the tower in good numbers including:

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks 23

Pine Siskins 104

Eastern Kingbirds 23

Blue Jays 99

Some earlier spring species are still around too (don’t you just love this time of year?)

This Common Loon was seen within close proximity of the beach today.


Here is today’s complete list…