Lots of Night Movement, Few Birds…

We continue to be under north winds here in the Indiana Dunes.  Hopefully this changes tomorrow with a short spell of south winds, before shifting again back to the north.

Under a northerly influence, clear and dry skies, and a new moon, a very evident movement occurred last night.  This movement, however, was not by birds, but by solar radiation hitting the upper atmosphere.  The Green Tower, though no longer present, lived up to it’s colored name, as hues of green shimmered past over the big lake.  Do birds use the aurora borealis as a migration directional tool?

Aurora Borealis from the Indiana Dunes State Park, 4/23/12

Even though winds were still out of the north (technically northwest), a count was conducted today.  Three new species were added for the season, being Forster’s Tern (late to appear up here), Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and Warbling Vireo.

1,750 birds of 58 species were logged today.  The full list is below:
Canada Goose 10
Red-breasted Merganser 7
Common Loon 1
Double-crested Cormorant 57
Great Blue Heron 5
Great Egret 1
Turkey Vulture 13
Northern Harrier 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 3
Cooper’s Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
American Kestrel 1
Sandhill Crane 1
Ring-billed Gull 1013
Herring Gull 101
Caspian Tern 20
Forster’s Tern 2
Mourning Dove 9
Chimney Swift 4
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Red-headed Woodpecker 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Downy Woodpecker 1
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Eastern Phoebe 1
Warbling Vireo 1
Blue Jay 126
American Crow 8
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 4
Purple Martin 1
Tree Swallow 43
Bank Swallow 1
Barn Swallow 32
Cliff Swallow 2
Tufted Titmouse 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
House Wren 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 3
Eastern Bluebird 2
American Robin 6
Brown Thrasher 2
European Starling 60
Palm Warbler 2
Pine Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1
Prairie Warbler 1
Eastern Towhee 2
Chipping Sparrow 1
Field Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 1
Swamp Sparrow 2
White-throated Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 1
Red-winged Blackbird 24
Common Grackle 29
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
House Finch 6
American Goldfinch 144

Dunes State Park Auroras, 4/23/12.
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