Longshore Flight, May 21

May 21 brought another 4,000 bird morning over the high dunes of Indiana Dunes State Park.  Migration is still going strong.  You could tell warblers were still moving this morning just by the new sounds as you entered the park.  An incredibly intense storm rolled through after midnight, bringing a quick inch of rain.  This may have contributed to the bird influx.

With strong southerly winds, many of the smaller warblers moving through will hug the tree lines, stopping in the area Jack pines, and darting low through openings.  When waxwings and one of the largest kingbird flights of the year are going by overhead, it’s easy to miss the warblers slipping down low.  For birders visiting the longshore dune tomorrow, we’ll be attempting some bird banding in the nearby woodlot to see what may be slipping past us.  It’s prime time for a Connecticut Warbler!

Highlights today included: a single Black-bellied Plover, 237 Eastern Kingbirds, 3052 Cedar Waxwings, 6 lingering Yellow-rumped Warblers, the season’s 50th Orchard Oriole, and 51 more Pine Siskins.  Perhaps the best bird again was a flock of Red Crossbills.  Three birds flew past this morning.

Some interesting season totals this year include:

376 White-winged Scoters
551 Red-throated Loons
1048 Caspian Terns
2253 Chimney Swifts
19,061 Blue Jays
75 Black-capped Chickadees
810 Eastern Bluebirds
4,317 Yellow-rumped Warblers
7 Lark Sparrows
841 Baltimore Orioles
3086 Pine Siskins

Prairie Warbler at Indiana Dunes State Park.
Prairie Warbler at Indiana Dunes State Park.

Tomorrow should start good before a few days of north winds bring cooler, pleasant air in and a chance to bird the back dunes for late migrating birds.

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