A Wind Advisory!

Monday April 16 brought even higher winds than yesterday.  At 7mph, a single grain of sand on the beach will begin to move.  It’s this movement that creates the dunes.  At 20mph, a grain of sand will then be picked up by the wind and blow.  Today’s counters brought home many grains of sand throughout their clothing.  Sand from the Dunes Prairie Nature Preserve blew hard with the wind gusts that reached 40mph (53mph wind gust recorded in Valparaiso later in the day).

With wind gusts stronger that yesterday, the morning flight was noticably weaker and terminated much earlier.  By 8am, 95% of the morning’s longshore flight had finished.  As the season progresses, new birds continue to be found.  This morning’s new arrivals were Pied-billed Grebe, Green Heron and House Wren.  3,357 birds from 57 species were logged today.

Like the last few days, the swallow flight was again strong, even if a fraction of yesterday’s record count.  All swallows but Bank would be recorded today.  A large gull movement occurred offshore in the strong winds, and a flock of migrating egrets provided an interesting sight among the stream of gulls over Lake Michigan.

One of a flock of Great Egrets migrating over Lake Michigan on 4/16/12.

Other highlights of the morning would include: 5 Hooded Mergansers, 1 Red-throated Loon, 3 Merlin, 1 Short-eared Owl, 10 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, and 452 Tree Swallows.

A distant, but identifiable Merlin perched near the Green Tower site this morning, 4/16/12.

If you break down the most common species seen, then express them over the course of two week periods for the count season, you’d have the results before.

Most Abundant Migratory Species, Indiana Dunes State Park Green Tower 2012

March 1-15
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
American Robin
Sandhill Crane
Ring-billed Gull
European Starling
Red-breasted Merganser
House Finch
Brown-headed Cowbird
Eastern Bluebird

March 16-31
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
American Robin
Sandhill Crane
Ring-billed Gull
Brown-headed Cowbird
Northern Flicker
European Starling
Red-breasted Merganser
Tree Swallow

April 1-15
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Tree Swallow
Ring-billed Gull
American Robin
Red-breasted Merganser
Brown-headed Cowbird
Double-crested Cormorant
American Goldfinch
Barn Swallow

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