1 Location, 400,000 Birds

Monday, May 20 brought one of the warmest day of the season.  By 10am, birds are slowing down, and our counters are seeking shade atop the high dunes here.  With good south winds pumping migrants through the area, migration continues and marches on.  The last birds are winging their way to the northwoods and beyond.  We humans define ornithological spring ending on June 5.  By that date, most of the late migrants have moved through and it will be a short 10 days before fall migration officially begins when the first shorebirds return south again.

Today was a milestone day.  We’ve now surpassed 400,000 birds!  We knew there were more birds to log than our 283,000 birds last year.  With good winds, great conditions, and lots of eyes, 1/2 million in a season is very doable.  15 days of potential migration dates  still exist.  The biggest of the migrant numbers have passed by.  Those being blackbirds, robins, grackles, and Blue Jays.  Cedar Waxwings and goldfinches will still wing it the next week.  Any day from March through May can bring a good rarity too.  Thus we keep counting.

Today’s 5,000 birds today were counted.  At this point Cedar Waxwings were the clear majority with 4,190 moving north.  They’ll surpass 10,000 birds before the season is over. Coming in still impressive are kingbirds.  Today’s 147 puts us a mere 4 kingbirds from 1,000 for the season. Interestingly, a new bird was logged today.  3 Least Flycatchers were seen today.  However, many Least have been seen locally already, so their arrival to the tower is late.

The birds of the day may be a flock of 8 Red Crossbills flying low over the dune.  These late winter finches continue to be fascinating.  Add 74 Pine Siskins to this too.  We may be seeing June siskins this year.

Today’s highlights below:

Red-shouldered Hawk 4
Red-tailed Hawk 6
Sandhill Crane 1
Caspian Tern 2
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2
Red-headed Woodpecker 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 7
Eastern Wood-Pewee 9
Least Flycatcher 3
Great Crested Flycatcher 3
Eastern Kingbird 147
Yellow-throated Vireo 1
Warbling Vireo 2
Red-eyed Vireo 2
Blue Jay 250
Purple Martin 10
Cliff Swallow 30
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2
Eastern Bluebird 13
Cedar Waxwing 4190
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 2
Summer Tanager 2
Scarlet Tanager 6
Indigo Bunting 47
Dickcissel 5
Bobolink 7
Orchard Oriole 5
Baltimore Oriole 12
Red Crossbill 8
American Goldfinch 210

Yesterday’s Pacific Loon was a quick diving bird that made it’s way all the way to Beverly Shores in less than an hour.  Here’s a brief video taken by Brendan Grube.


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