More Flights and Lights.

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Old and new shelf ice after the cold front from early Tuesday, March 17, 2015.

It’s hard to write about the longshore flight after a spectacular day like Monday.  By Monday night the winds were howling.  Weather vanes swung hard from south to north by midnight and Tuesday brought bone chilling cold on the lakefront.  The breaking shelf ice literally built a brand new white cap of ice mounds behind the existing layer.  By Tuesday’s end, the temperatures were thirty degrees cooler and waves could still be heard even though the winds had since died.

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St. Patrick’s Day aurora borealis. Photo courtesy Eric Hines.

The green luck of the Irish was certainly with us Tuesday.  The cold and clear conditions made it perfect for the bravehearts that made it down to the beach to watch one of the best Northern Lights or aurora borealis shows that this author has ever seen on the lakefront.  The perfectly dark skies over Lake Michigan provide for excellent viewing, despite the glowing light pollution from Chicago.

Since the cold front, birds have continued to move, but certainly not the 20,000+ birds that make the longshore flight so exciting.  Flight counts were done on Wednesday and today (Thursday).  Respectively, 6,046 birds and 6,044 birds each day.  Wednesday brought a residual robin flight, while Thursday’s slightly warmer weather brought an impressive 4,394 Sandhill Cranes.  For the season, 12,771 cranes have been recorded flying over the dunes this season.

Unfortunately, no new birds have been recorded since the major cold front came through.  This will no doubt change in the coming days.  Friday looks to welcome in some more warm, south air.

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