Let the Flickers Fly

Monday, March 19 continued the extreme heat wave that has overtaken much of the eastern United States. and again migration over the high dunes continued in earnest.  Today saw 10,144 birds fly over, including several notable mentions.  If you add the season first birds from today, 98 species have now been seen from the Green Tower this spring season.  Not too bad considering the real neo-tropic migrants have not even shown up yet!

Although flickers will remain all winter and often don’t migrate from many areas of the country, there is an evident and strong migration that occurs in the northern states.  From the Indiana Dunes, this migration is very apparent and on some mornings it can appear quite heavy.  Last year on April 10, the record Northern Flicker count was recorded for the state when 1,127 of these yellow-shafted wonders took flight by the old dune top.   Counts of over 100 birds are common up here.  Today, 171 Northern Flickers went by.

1 of 171 Flickers to fly past the old Green Tower today.

Pete Grube took this blurry, yet interesting pose of a Flicker going by today as well.

Funny Flicker, March 19, 2012.

Among other birds flying this morning, robins, blackbirds, and grackles continued their never ending flight, each averaging 2,000-3,000 a piece today.  American Pipits and Lapland Longspurs continue to join them.

The best birds of the morning were a male Long-tailed Duck, White-winged Scoters, Merlin (female), another Eurasian Collared Dove, an early Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and a very early Palm Warbler, documented with the photo below.  It was a nice, diverse group of birds migrating today.

Early Palm Warbler, March 19, 2012.

A few more winter finches continued to migrate out of the state this morning.  A single, silent Pine Siskin went by, while Purple Finch numbers are beginning to increase (6 birds). No redpolls or crossbills were seen today.  The previous reported Red-breasted Nuthatch may be sticking around, as he was seen again in the Jack Pines next to the staircase, calling often.

Red-breasted Nuthatch, March 19, 2012.

Lastly, an Eastern Meadowlark flying over our heads today from atop the best migration spot in Indiana!

Migrating Eastern Meadowlark, March 19, 2012 (note the white malar and extensive white in the tail feathers to separate from Western Meadowlark).



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