Riding the Cusp of Neotropical Excitement!

Wednesday, April 25, brought the first south wind in many days.  It also offered the only south wind likely for several more days.  While bird migration is occurring as I right this, all signs point to a wind shift back to the north before 4am Thursday morning.  Today didn’t even offer a full day, as rain teased the area throughout the mid morning, and lighting made it difficult to identify birds flying over.

The sun fights to break the thick cloud bank this morning at the Green Tower site, 4/25/12.

What started with many record and near record counts has slowly found itself right where things should be.  Typical first arrivals are now occurring when many did last year, especially for neotropical migrants.  With the persistent cold, a few are now appearing a little late, or in small numbers when present.  Take this morning’s first Baltimore Oriole of the season.  Some south winds would have had many more through by now.  Eastern Kingbirds have also yet to be seen, but should have arrived this week.   The good side to the story is that we’re in that window where the next warm breeze should bring in some great migrants to up the diversity count!

Today’s count did include 74 species, of 3,650 individuals.  New for the season this year were Spotted Sandpiper, Common Yellowthroat, and Baltimore Oriole.    Other highlights included a great late count of 20 Red-throated Loons, 1 Osprey, 1 Merlin, 1 Vesper Sparrow, 1 Pine Siskin, and 1 tardy Common Redpoll.

The Blue Jay flight will peak during the first week of May (statistically May 7, per Brock), but the first signs of an earnest migration are occurring.  The highest one day count of the season went past as 230 Blue Jays were observed.  The thick clouds did no justice to the observation seen below.

A single Blue Jay flock moves below the cloud bank, 4/25/12.

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