Diversity Knocking on the Door

The Longshore flight count for Monday, April 21 finally gave hint at the greater spring migration that’s been hidden just south of us all spring.  It was the warmest start, and warmest day of the season.  Dawn was absolutely gorgeous and the southerly breeze felt good to the face at 60 degrees.  Though generally cloudy, the morning had little bursts of sunlight that would pour over the landscape, lighting up migrating birds as they zipped by.

Yellow-rumped Warbler in the Cottonwood Tree.
Yellow-rumped Warbler in the Cottonwood Tree.

Today brought the largest species total (i.e. diversity) for the year, with 73 species being counted from the BOP area.  Total numbers for the day were 3,587 birds.  For the second day in a row, duck numbers have taken a nose dive, with exception for a few cormorants and loons.  Blackbirds are starting to throttle back.  Many females are dominating the migrating groups.  All of this isn’t bad, as it allows more time to watch for the ones and twos of new species getting by.  With that, a few sparrows and warblers joined the scene today.  With warm winds pumping in all night, first of season birds included Eastern Kingbird, Pine Warbler, Yellow Warbler, LeConte’s Sparrow, and Lark Sparrow.  One new bird that doesn’t seem so strange was our first Barred Owl of the season.  Despite the fact that they are common in the backdune forests and swamps nearby, they are a very rare longshore tower bird.  This morning’s bird was the first in several years.

Other birds influxing into the area with good counts included 38 Yellow-rumped Warblers and 42 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers.  The latter was Indiana’s 19th highest single party daily total.  To date, 63 Purple Finches have been counted this spring.  Surprising given the poor fall flight they gave last year.  A few landed and showed off briefly before migrating today.

Not surprisingly, with increasing clouds, only 49 birds of prey would be logged today.

Volunteering at the site today included Brad Bumgardner, Ken Brock, and Stephanie and Margaret Danyi.  Highlights follow:

Red-throated Loon 3
Common Loon 2
Double-crested Cormorant 96
Osprey 3
Broad-winged Hawk 16
Solitary Sandpiper 3
Great Black-backed Gull 1
Forster’s Tern 2
Barred Owl 1
Pileated Woodpecker 5
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 42
Yellow Warbler 2
Pine Warbler 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler 38
Vesper Sparrow 2
Lark Sparrow 1
Le Conte’s Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco 3
Rusty Blackbird 71
Purple Finch 13


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