Dark and Dreary

Here is the longshore flight report for Saturday, April 14.  Despite the continued south winds, today’s flight was a few hundred birds less than yesterday.  2,261 birds made their way past the high dune today.  Early morning rain tapered off 30 minutes after sunrise (they say the sun rose, but we never saw it).  Rain to the south threatened the birding crew this morning, but never materialized.  Despite this, the clouds stayed heavy and dark, making visibility quite difficult, particularly over the lake, where a resurgence of activity occurred this morning.  Also despite the conditions, the lake was calm and flat, ideal for near shore loons, grebes, and mergansers.

A dark, yet placid Lake Michigan on 4/14/12.

Today’s list included a nice, eclectic mix of birds.  Again, like yesterday, new birds were added to the season totals, bringing the total species count to 130 species now.  New birds today included Little Blue Heron, Greater Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, Red-headed Woodpecker, and Chimney Swift.

Loons, Swallows, and Blue Jays were the most notable movers of the morning.  With flat conditions, both Red-throated and Common Loons could be seen sitting on the lake and flying by.  An amazing 48 Red-throated Loons were logged today.  This likely constitutes the state’s 5th largest count, and second largest from a single location (49 were once logged from the green tower).  20 Common Loons were also seen today.  Given all the loons out there, it’s no surprise to hear of a Pacific Loon seen flying south from St. Joseph, MI today. Eyes will be out for it tomorrow for sure.

Over 300 Tree Swallows were logged flying by today.  Mixing in with them were 27 Barn Swallows, 7 N Rough-winged Swallows, 1 Cliff Swallow, and the first 2 Chimney Swifts.  We’ve already logged over 1,000 Tree Swallows for the season.

Blue Jays began their first major flight today.  By the end of April and first week of May, it’s possible to see 5,000+ in one morning, but today’s initial flight of 151 was worth noting.

The first good Blue Jay flight of the year. 4/14/12.

Rounding out the notables were 3 Surf Scoters, 7 Great Egrets, 12 Pectoral Sandpipers, 2 Bonaparte’s Gulls, 14 Y-B Sapsuckers, a Lapland Longspur. and a season high 77 Yellow-rumped Warblers.  

Ah!  Spring!



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