With Memorial Day out of the way, the summer has unofficially started. We have one last week to wrap up our 2013 Spring Longshore Flight Count. Late and unexpected migrants are still around to be seen flying past the point. New species are still being logged from the dune top, including a new tower species (Marsh Wren).
The weekend’s north winds stalled over the dunes most of the weekend, but the week ahead looks to be all southern. Scattered storms are accompanying the south winds too. Birding can be good in between these down pours. The exact timing of these storms may determine how this final week of counting goes.
A brief count was conducted on March 24, under strong north winds. 841 birds were counted, with Cedar Waxwings and American Goldfinches dominating the weak movement. Temperatures stayed in the 40s throughout the day, but yielded one late spring surprise… a pair of Red Crossbills! Siskins also continued to migrate, with 58 birds seen and heard.
On May 28, south winds and storms welcomed the work week. But, with south winds the birds returned and though late in the migration season, an even 1,200 birds flew past the beach site. A lingering Common Loon was off the beach pavilion most of the day, undisturbed by the growing beach crowds braving the still cold waters. 2 Osprey flew past, but few other hawks were moving in the thick overcast. The bird, or birds of the day, may have been the nice flock of 21 White-rumped Sandpipers on the swimming beach. Unfortunately, the above mentioned beach crowds quickly scared them off. The count of 21 will go down as a new Dunes Area high count, and most likely a top 10 count for the state.
15 Eastern Wood-Pewees went past this morning, doubling the season total thus far. A nice mix of late warblers went past as well, including 13 Magnolias, and multiples of Wilson, Canada, and Mourning Warblers. Another 45 goldfinches brings the season total to over 10,000 birds. Rounding out the highlights were 8 Savannah Sparrows. This many Savannah Sparrows in late April or the first week of May would be normal, but by this date it raises questions as to whether we’re seeing early breeding failures on the move already.
We’ll round out this week and give our season totals!
Finally, the photos below were taken this morning along the state park boundary road (Kemil Rd). The photos were taken by Ken Brock. Can anyone identify this bird to species, age, and sex? We’ll give the answer in the next posting.