Tail Wagging Warblers

The morning routine, cold with coats, then sunburns and short sleeves later.  5/6/14.
The morning routine, cold with coats, then sunburns and short sleeves later. 5/6/14.

Today’s longshore flight brought another good day of migration.  Despite the east winds, with northerly tendencies (especially after noon) the day ended being the best flight of the season and sixth best of all time according to the Grube Magnitude index (65.80 specifically).   88 species, making up 2,790 birds were logged today.  Warblers were the show all morning.

Palm Warbler at the Bird Observation Platform.
Palm Warbler at the Bird Observation Platform.

Despite the evening songbird flight being done, many warblers and other nocturnal birds continued on after the sun had risen.  12 species of warbler were observed going over in high speed mode.  These 12 warblers included 1,144 birds.  That’s right… 1000+ warblers were identified from the platform today.  As would be predicted in a season running a week behind, Yellow-rumped Warblers would make up the super majority.  the 924 butter butts would be the state’s seventh highest count.  they zipped past going east by ones and loose groups.  Two other equally impressive (for their species) counts came from Palm Warblers (156) and Nashville Warblers (26).  It was the 12th highest state count for the Palms, and 11th highest for the Nashvilles.  The total warbler count today doubled the cumulative totals thus far this season.

Other notable warblers seen going by included a single Orange-crowned, 12 Black-throated Green, 7 Pine, and 2 Blackburnian Warblers.  Warbler neck is on!  Adding to the diversity today were the season’s first hummingbirds, while juncos and Clay-colored Sparrows flirted with the feeders below.  A real eclectic group today.

Palm Warbler feeding nonchalantly along Trail 10.  5/6/14.
Palm Warbler feeding nonchalantly along Trail 10. 5/6/14.
Trail 2 Boardwalk.
Trail 2 Boardwalk.

We finally will crank into some serious south winds and we expect some good flights to occur for anyone wishing to visit the next few days and into the weekend for the IAS Big May Day Count.  Blue Jays and Warbs should deliver some impressive totals, and birders taking the inland route will find some good variety too.  Already today, other good birds were logged inside the park by birders.  The Trail 2/10 loop is a good start.  The back dunes along the wetland provide shelter and nice control burn areas that allow birds to feast on the forest floor.  The 1/2 mile long boardwalk can bring any bird to surprise you, while the rest of Trail 2 is a peaceful backwoods of wildflower carpets, Cerulean’s galore, and loud drumming Pileated Woodpeckers.  Reports from this area today include Blue-winged Warbler, the season’s first Prothonotary Warbler, lots of Pine Warblers, Lincoln Sparrow,  and some equally impressive counts to rival the tower site.  134 Palm Warblers were seen feeding on Trail 10 today.  This is why our birding trails are better than anywhere else in the state!

A rare view into the end of the day summary calculations.  5/6/14
A rare view into the end of the day summary calculations. 5/6/14

You’re daily highlights below:
Osprey 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 4
Eastern Kingbird 52
Yellow-throated Vireo 1
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2
American Pipit 103
Lapland Longspur 3 
Northern Waterthrush 1
Black-and-white Warbler 7
Orange-crowned Warbler 1
Nashville Warbler 26
Cape May Warbler 5
Northern Parula 1
Magnolia Warbler 1
Blackburnian Warbler 2
Palm Warbler 156
Pine Warbler 7
Yellow-rumped Warbler 924 
Black-throated Green Warbler 12
Chipping Sparrow 30
Clay-colored Sparrow 3 
White-throated Sparrow 24
White-crowned Sparrow 4
Dark-eyed Junco 3
Scarlet Tanager 8
Bobolink 11
Orchard Oriole 5
Baltimore Oriole 124 
Purple Finch 1
American Goldfinch 220

Don’t forget we’re desperate to keep counting birds.  Really, we have no other skills!  Consider pledging to our Birdathon on May 17 to help fund bird related events and programs at the Indiana Dunes State Park!


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