After a break from any major longshore flight, things finally look to return. This morning the dunes were greeted to yet another new layer of snow. Officially, 1.5 inches fell overnight in Chesterton. The long range forecast looks like this may be a turning point from the bone chilling cold. Starting Wednesday, each day will bring progressively more warm air, southerly winds, moisture, and… birds! The 2014 seasonal so far is 57,700 birds. Surprisingly, it’s more than last year at this time! Last year we had several small days, and the big numbers began March 26. Check out the 2012 totals thought! We were at 150,000 birds by this time.
The week ahead should be interesting for migration. Many late birds should begin to arrive by the end of the weekend. Wednesday, March 26, will see south winds enter the area. The morning will be very cold, but should quickly warm to the upper 30s. Fortunately, there is open water off-shore, so we won’t have to wait for the pack ice to drift back out. Blackbirds and robins should post a decent surge, but will grow as the weekend progresses. Thursday swings back to north winds, but then by Friday-Sunday, winds will progressively grow more southerly and temperatures will surge to the warmest of the season by Sunday. Saturday and Sunday could be two ideal days to be at the bird observation platform.
Until then, many local birders have had great viewing opportunities of an American White Pelican at the Striebel Pond in Michigan City. It’s possible this is the same bird that has been wintering at the Portage Marina. Regardless, the pond has many great viewing areas, so the pelican is never too far away, even for folks carrying only binoculars or a camera.
If you’ve never been to Striebel Pond, a map is below.