The One That Got Away

Today, Tuesday, April 9 had yet again another significant migration witnessed over the Indiana Dunes.  It was a special day in that we surpassed our grand total from 2012, with an incredible amount of migration still to go.  It is amazing how weather patterns play havoc with migration and alter what we see in any particular season.  Unlike yesterday’s clear blue skies (afternoon!) , today was significantly different, being overcast most of the day.

Comparison of yesterday's birding view vs. today's view.
Comparison of yesterday’s birding view vs. today’s view.

Continuing the never-ending March migration, blackbirds and robins continue to spill through the area, tacking on large counts that bring up the final tally.  Clearly, Red-wings and American Robins are starting to wane, but grackles continue to go strong.  11,501 grackles migrated over head today.  But, 6,392 Red-winged Blackbirds also continued their journey northward.

New to this list for the season were Brown Thrasher and Chimney Swift.

Another hawk flight occurred today.  Under a nice south wind, and good cloud coverage that made seeing raptors easy, 100 birds of prey were logged.  The best bird of the afternoon may be the one that got away.  A possible immature Ferruginous Hawk circled briefly.  Our counter packed up and headed west in an attempt to intercept the bird 10 miles away, but was unsuccessful.  Other birders heeded the call to sub in at the tower site and count raptors while the chase went on.  The strange buteo was never re-located, but a good mix of both buteos, accipiters, and falcons were enjoyed this afternoon.

Pete Grube assisting in today's hawkwatch.  4/9/13
Pete Grube assisting in today’s hawkwatch. 4/9/13

With today’s 20,755 birds, the new season total is 298,961.  We’ve passed 1/4 million birds and hitting 1/2 million doesn’t seem all that impossible this year.  Tomorrow doesn’t look so good for a morning flight, with north winds entering the scene tonight.  There will be a brief flight Thursday as southeast winds pump in and we look to surpass 300,000 birds.  Then, things are back down again for Friday and Saturday as a strong cold front moves in.  We hope to be back again then on Sunday to resume the longshore flight.

Today’s other highlights below:

American Wigeon 1
Blue-winged Teal 4
Green-winged Teal 1
White-winged Scoter 3 (still going strong!)
Long-tailed Duck 1
Red-throated Loon 1
Common Loon 8
Osprey 4
Northern Harrier 22
Sharp-shinned Hawk 33
Cooper’s Hawk 4
Red-shouldered Hawk 6
Red-tailed Hawk 7
Rough-legged Hawk 1
American Woodcock 1
Ring-billed Gull 35 (low count)
Caspian Tern 17
Long-eared Owl 1 (still roosting near Green Tower site)
Chimney Swift 1 (FOY)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 13
Northern Flicker 201 (another nice flight)
American Kestrel 9
Peregrine Falcon 2
Purple Martin 2
American Robin 1220
Brown Thrasher 1 (FOY)
American Pipit 2
Lapland Longspur 14
Yellow-rumped Warbler 6
Vesper Sparrow 2
Fox Sparrow 3
Red-winged Blackbird 6392
Common Grackle 11501

Sharp-shinned Hawk in today's hawkwatch, 4/9/13
Sharp-shinned Hawk in today’s hawkwatch, 4/9/13
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