Warbler Prophecies

Friday, May 4, 2012 brought a morning of flip flopping.  The winds throughout the night pushed south for fifth night in a row.  However, a sudden squall brought brute force over the dunes as dawn was breaking.  The pure force of this storm hijacked our south winds, and the low pressure from the storm pulled the wind to the north for an hour.  Afterwards, winds would shift again, then back to the north again!  Every time the winds shifted, the morning flight would suddenly stop.  By late morning, a thick cloud bank could be seen along the entire Indiana lakeshore.  This cloud wall, seen miles away drifted fog into areas of Northwest Indiana by early afternoon.

No doubt due to the difficulties, the bird count was much lower than the last few days, only logging 2,597 birds, from 84 species.  Yesterday we wrote about the difficulty in identifying many of the migrating birds.  We spoke too soon, as today, with each wind shift, the migrating warbler groups were heavy and high!  Little specks against the overcast sky, their shapes and flight style often times only said “warbler”.  In the end, 436 warblers were seen today without an identity assigned to them.  Among those that did included an Orange-crowned Warbler, Ovenbird, Black-and-White Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, several Black-throated Green Warblers, and 148 Yellow-rumped Warblers.

The morning calm provided a beautiful calm lake.  Several new arrivals made their appearance for the season, including a pair of Willets, with one pictured below, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Gray-cheeked Thrush, and the previously mentioned Black-and-White Warbler and Northern Waterthrush.

One of two Willets on the Dunes State Park beach 5/4/12.

The full list follows.

Wood Duck 2
Blue-winged Teal 5
Red-breasted Merganser 7
Common Loon 1
Horned Grebe 1
Double-crested Cormorant 6
Great Blue Heron 7
Great Egret 1
Turkey Vulture 2
Cooper’s Hawk 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Solitary Sandpiper 11
Willet 2
Semipalmated Sandpiper 12
Ring-billed Gull 10
Herring Gull 2
Caspian Tern 11
Mourning Dove 2
Chimney Swift 9
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-headed Woodpecker 14
Red-bellied Woodpecker 6
Northern Flicker 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Eastern Kingbird 35
Yellow-throated Vireo 1
Blue Jay 370
American Crow 1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 5
Purple Martin 3
Tree Swallow 5
Bank Swallow 5
Barn Swallow 16
Cliff Swallow 13
Tufted Titmouse 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
House Wren 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 9
Eastern Bluebird 10
Gray-cheeked Thrush 1
American Robin 4
Gray Catbird 1
Brown Thrasher 1
European Starling 4
American Pipit 3
Cedar Waxwing 111
Ovenbird 1
Northern Waterthrush 1
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 1
Nashville Warbler 2
Common Yellowthroat 3
Yellow Warbler 4
Blackpoll Warbler 1
Palm Warbler 27
Pine Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 148
Prairie Warbler 1
Black-throated Green Warbler 3
Unidentified Warbler Species 436
Eastern Towhee 1
Chipping Sparrow 4
Field Sparrow 2
Lark Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 1
White-throated Sparrow 5
White-crowned Sparrow 8
Summer Tanager 1
Scarlet Tanager 5
Northern Cardinal 1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 7
Indigo Bunting 70
Bobolink 17
Red-winged Blackbird 308
Rusty Blackbird 1
Common Grackle 17
Brown-headed Cowbird 4
Orchard Oriole 6
Baltimore Oriole 80
House Finch 1
Pine Siskin 6
American Goldfinch 689
House Sparrow 1

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