Those tracking the spring migration through the dunes have no doubt noticed the lack of postings lately. The now much talked about late winter chill is starting to take a toll on how many birds were logging, especially compared to last year’s record warm March. Yesterday was the first day of spring and by this point last year we had logged 167,818 birds. This year, 49,026 birds. We’ve seen less than a 1/3 of the birds we saw last year!
If there is one good side, it’s that we’re not alone. This is not unique to just the lower Great Lakes or Midwest. The entire eastern United States seems to be under the same cold trough, created by a dipping jet stream. Our neighbors to the north at Whitefish Point are also struggling to get their spring counts started. Even scarier, check out the latest weekend forecast below for the Indiana Dunes area. Let’s hope they are wrong in predicting 8 inches of snow this weekend.
Despite poor birding conditions, north winds do bring gull movement on the lake. Thousands of gulls continue to stream by the park and our counter is attempting to log them. The highlight of a brief and cold count yesterday was a Lesser Black-backed Gull. The weather also doesn’t stop construction of the new birding tower. After months of what appeared to be zero progress, things are taking shape with the addition of the staircase and soon to come decking. All the wood being used was cut and salvaged from the Henryville, IN tornado.