Winter Storm Brewing

Today was the calm before the storm.  After yesterday’s warm, 52 degree day, this morning failed to reach as high.  A draping cold front entered the area late morning.  While approaching winds were fairly calm, creating a a low hanging mist over the lake. The post front winds picked up from the north and brought a steady downward trend in the temperatures all afternoon.   Meanwhile, sites to the south of the dunes enjoyed more sun and warmer temperatures.  By the end of the day, the temperature in the dunes was near freezing (32 degrees).  At the same time it was still 50 in Lafayette, 70 in Indy, and mid-70s south of Bloomington.  Quite a temperature change with the impending snow storm.

2,581 birds, from 47 species were logged today.  The season’s three day total is now 7,615 birds.  In the first three days of counts in 2013 our total was 5,321 birds.  A single day can change these numbers this time of year.  But, it’s an optimistic look, considering the winter weather we have had.  We’re certainly going to be taking a break soon with the Winter Storm Warning that is in effect.

We added a few new birds, Wood Duck and Green-winged Teal namely.  2 Red-necked Grebes would be significant if it weren’t for the massive invasion occurring right now in the lower Great Lakes.  The most noticeable and anticipated flight was the first hint of the blackbird movement to come.  Over 1,000 Red-winged Blackbirds moved through.  Feeble in comparison of what will begin any day now, but more than we’ve had the first two days of counting.  The clouds brought very little raptor movement to note, which also meant the cranes did not move.  However, reports downstate indicate that there was heavy Sandhill Crane movement in Indiana today.  No doubt many of these birds reached Jasper-Pulaski or Kankakee FWA before they hit the north winds.  The next good south wind day should see 1,000+ crane days over the dunes.  We’ll bet the bank (or bird seed) on it!  That next good day may not occur until the end of the week.  4-8 inches of snow are being forecasted for overnight and Wednesday.  Thursday will be a cold start, with lows 3-7 above, but should rebound into the 40s by Friday.

Today’s other highlights (March 11, 2014):

Greater White-fronted Goose 57
Wood Duck 4
Gadwall 30
Green-winged Teal 5
White-winged Scoter 12
Bufflehead 2
Red-necked Grebe 2
Bald Eagle 2
Sandhill Crane 1
Great Black-backed Gull 4
American Kestrel 1
Horned Lark 33
Field Sparrow 1
Red-winged Blackbird 1306
Eastern Meadowlark 2


One thought on “Winter Storm Brewing”

  1. I saw more than 3 Red-breasted Mergansers on the Little Calumet River. I saw 3 Sandhill Cranes at the Chellberg fields. *Christine L. Gerlach* *Education Programs Ranger/Specialist* *Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore * *1100 N. Mineral Springs Road * *Porter, IN 46304* * (219) 395-1885 ** To see the World in a Grain of Sand and Heaven in a Wildflower,* * ** Hold Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand and Eternity in an Hour.* *

    W. Blake*

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