What a difference a day makes! Last night’s anticipated south winds ended. Not in a slow shift, but in a complete 180 degree turn this ship around kind of way. Today we’re seeing that the wind shift was not statewide, but was felt throughout the Chicago area. For the Indiana Dunes State Park, it began after 2am. By 4am, the wind shift was more than complete, but more noticable was the temperature drop. As seen below in the dunes area weather station data, the temps dropped from 72 degrees all the way to 43 degrees in just over an hour. Most of Indiana has sat in the warm air today After bottoming out, we have not rebounded.
With these conditions, all bird flights were grounded this morning. Aside from a few Blue Jays (big surprise!), no flocks were performing the longshore flight this morning. But, the cooler weather felt great and has allowed for birders to see warblers, thrushes, and vireos up close and near the ground, feeding often near the warmer waters of the inland marshes and swamps. New arrivals are here to enjoy in the back dunes.
Cold, north winds may not bring in any new influxes of migrating birds, but during the peak of migration (right now!) some birds will still continue to trickle in. From the last few days there are still a good set of birds to be found and reports this afternoon reveal that the famous Wilson Shelter boardwalk Prothonotary Warbler is back for another nesting season in the easily view able box found near the boardwalk observation area. Check them out if you’re out this weekend. The winds may have also kept the pair of Piping Plovers, reported last weekend, from migrating north. A walk on Miller Beach, by the Lake St. access, may be worth a birding whirl.
With rain being forecasted every day for the weekend, confidence is low on when we’ll have the counters back out for longshore flight surveys. A weak wind shift may occur on Saturday, otherwise winds look poor even into the work week on Monday and Tuesday. We’ll give updates when we think the bird’s will be inundating our clickers again.