Orioles!

Blue and Orange are common colors in this part of the state, especially in the fall.  It’s possible to drive through the dunes region and alternate between homes owned by Colts fans and homes adorning the logo for the Bears.  Blue and orange, Blue and white, blue and orange, blue and white…. It’s not fall, but we saw lots of blue and orange today.  However in this case, it was Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles.

Winds shifted southward for a good period today.  Rain also held off, allowing for a complete count to occur.  This all spoiled after 5pm, but another good count day felt good as we prepare for another break of north winds that will likely last through the weekend’s Big May Day Count.

Baltimore Oriole stopping for a brief second for a few songs before migrating past.
Baltimore Oriole stopping for a brief second for a few songs before migrating past.

Today, 7,761 birds took wing over the dunes.  Blue Jays dominated the flight 4 to 1.  After the new state record 7,000+ birds last week, it was great to see another large flight of 5,811 jays.  This likely will go down as the state’s third highest Blue Jay count!  Accompanying them was a major orange incursion.  Orioles, both Baltimore and Orchard streamed by, with occasional stops to sing their musical tones.  Birders are excited to see an oriole or two on a spring day, try on 387 Baltimore Orioles and 18 Orchard Orioles.  The former just may be the state’s second highest single party count.  The Orchard Oriole may also place second for the lakefront, and definitely a top ten count for the state.

Aside from Blue Jays and orioles, Chimney Swifts put on a major flight with 318 birds.  Red-bellied Woodpeckers continued their new migration, with 18 birds undulating past.  144 Cliff Swallows is amazing for the dunes area, but not anywhere near state records.  56 Cedar Waxwings gave signal to the last major flight we observe in May, the large waxwing movement!  Late in the day, a new season bird winged past the longshore tower dune.  11 American White Pelicans drifted over the state park and was captured in the video below.

With north winds coming, birds are still here to be found.  Many warblers could be heard throughout the park today.  Be careful if you hear a Golden-winged Warbler along the entrance road.  For the third spring, we have a weird Cerulean Warbler on territory that gives a very good GWWA song.  The dunes has traditionally had Blackburnian Warblers nest here.  A unique situation for Indiana, as few locations host them in the summer.  Birds have been heard recently at their traditional location along South State Park Road.  If you venture down there, listen for their distinctive, high pitched song.

Gray-cheeked Thrush in the Dunes State Park, 5/8/13.
Gray-cheeked Thrush in the Dunes State Park, 5/8/13.

Today’s other highlights follow:

Red-throated Loon 6
Common Loon 3
American White Pelican 11 
Great Egret 2
Osprey 1
Northern Harrier 3
Broad-winged Hawk 1
Caspian Tern 6
Common Tern 1
Chimney Swift 318 
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 3
Red-headed Woodpecker 8
Red-bellied Woodpecker 18
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1

Pileated Woodpecker 1
Blue-headed Vireo 1 (new season bird)
Warbling Vireo 4
Blue Jay 5811 
Cliff Swallow 144 
Gray Catbird 6
European Starling 24
American Pipit 8
Cedar Waxwing 56
Common Yellowthroat 1
American Redstart 1
Yellow Warbler 3
Blackpoll Warbler 1
Palm Warbler 9
Yellow-rumped Warbler 49
Henslow’s Sparrow 1
Lincoln’s Sparrow 2
White-throated Sparrow 1
White-crowned Sparrow 9
Summer Tanager 1 (new season bird)
Scarlet Tanager 7
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 25
Indigo Bunting 25
Bobolink 1
Orchard Oriole 18
Baltimore Oriole 387 
Purple Finch 17
Pine Siskin 17
American Goldfinch 312

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3 thoughts on “Orioles!”

  1. I thought I spied pelicans when driving the other day, but I talked myself out of it because I didn’t think they were around here. BTW – I spotted an indigo bunting under my feeder today. We have a few trees here, but it’s not wooded enough for me to usually see them here. 🙂

  2. So glad you listed white crowned sparrows here. I’ve had three of them working under my feeder the last few days. Had someone that looks a bit like a dull orange oriole, but not as much black as a Baltimore oriole, on my orange this morning. Does anyone have an idea of what it may have been?

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