Migration Eve!

With any luck, at this time tomorrow, our blog will start off with, “It was a great day for migration in the dunes!”  The winds have not been favorable since last Friday evening, resulting in very little to report.  Whenever the north winds have shifted this spring, the large quantity of pack ice settles back up against the shelf ice and makes waterfowl viewing impossible.  This morning’s feeble count contained virtually no ducks since the light east winds had failed to open up the lake.  East winds are also not very conductive to a good longshore flight.  The rarer east winds can be good for lakefront birders north of us in Michigan, but not here.

Today’s count was a weak 18 species, comprising 1,418 individuals.  It was the coldest morning start, not just for this year’s count, but for all of the counts since we started in early 2012.  The low teens slowly rose to freezing, but afternoon.  Very little moved today, but the shifting south winds did hint at the larger crane flight to come.  Nearly 1,000 were sighted from the tower site this morning.  The short crane flight accounted for 2/3 of the birds this morning.

Monday night Wind Map showing strong south winds coming in from the west.  Map courtesy http://hint.fm/wind/
Monday night Wind Map showing strong south winds coming in from the west. Map courtesy http://hint.fm/wind/

The fun of the longshore flight is predicting that big day.  That spectacular birding morning that the site is known for producing.  March is known for the high quantities.  April.. the great mix of quantity and quality.  May has the quality in it’s favor.  But rarities can show up during any month.  Looking at forecast, tomorrow, March 18, should be the best morning of the season.  Blackbirds and Robins should make their first real flight, while waterfowl should also stream in. Cranes and hawks should then post their best flights to date.  An all around good day should be expected.  Depending on the rain forecast for Wednesday, it could be another good day for the 19th.  We should have several new arrivals by the end of the week as we finish with a strong Friday flight.  Join us this week!

viewing Trail 3 from the bird tower.  Photo courtesy SannePhotos.
viewing Trail 3 from the bird tower. Photo courtesy SannePhotos.
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