Today was an important day. It’s the day before the Indiana Audubon Big May Day count. It’s also the day before International Migratory Bird Day. The weather patterns now may dictate the birds we can log tomorrow. After being nearly a week behind schedule, some amazing winds have brought 4 excellent migration nights and each morning has shown promise of more and more birds. the tower site is not only producing, but so are nearly every inland area of the dunes. A great example of migration catching up was the 22 Common Nighthawks observed today feeding over the back dunes (see the video below!). Most dunes area birders won’t see their first nighthawk for another week or so.
To celebrate International Migratory Bird Day, birders will be out scouring the wetlands, high dunes, lakes, prairies, forests, and more. The state park has several birding options for anyone looking to enjoy the great peak of migration and hopefully some nice weather. A warbler bird walk will be offered at 9:30am, at the state park nature center. From 1:30pm-4pm, it will be an afternoon for the birds. There will be live bird banding, bird crafts, activities, and even some bird prizes for the young birders. Visit the nature center for part or all of the time.
To allow for adequate rest, today’s highlights will be truncated. But, with the morning downpours, shorebirds took advantage to move along the beach. There were a few notable annuals that arrived today, but the rain brought no significant longshore flight. New birds today included Semipalmated Sandpiper, Sanderling Baird’s Sandpiper, Dunlin, Dowitcher spp, Common Nighthawk, Willow Flycatcher, and Franklin’s Gull. The morning ended short with 1,304 birds, making up 69 species.
Inland, warblers were everywhere after the rain falls. Landon Neumann was kind enough to report a Kentucky Warbler on Trail 2 this morning. Several other birders were able to see or hear it. Kentucky Warblers, while more common down south, are much rarer in the dunes.
Will we see you tomorrow?