Reporting from atop the bone cold birding tower today, there’s not a bird in sight. In the past we’ve gone stretches where fronts park themself in the right spot and the dunes become the recipent of north winds for extended periods. In March these spells reduce our blackbird and grackle count, in April, many new arrivals will be late to appear. However, April of 2015 seems to be a whole other beast. We haven’t conducted a longshore flight since April 19th, and the next window right now is looking like the weekend before any birds will be moving again.
The woodlands and wetlands of Dunes State Park is more reminiscent of mid April at this point. The migrant Hermit Thrushes, White-throated Sparrows, and kinglets are in numbers considered quite low for this date. Birders coming up from central Indiana have commented on how much quieter and “behind” things are here. Fortunately, all this can chance with a few good days of south winds. Our current prediction is that this will occur on Saturday and Sunday (May 2/3). With it may bring the first real wave of neotropical migrants. If you’re in the park, or on the tower you’ll probably notice good numbers of Eastern Kingbirds, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Nashville Warblers, Black-throated Green Warblers, as well as some of the dune specialties, like Prairie Warbler.
In the meantime we installed the longshore counting board today. The board was donated By Konrady Plastics and will help visitors to get a glmpse of some of the migrating birds, whether they are here in the morning or not.
In the meantime as well, no idle minds or hands are going to poor use. Many shorebirds fly by the beach and from our vantage point, they are hard to identify. Most just fly by and don’t stop. Now, were hoping to slow them down or make them stop just for a second. Brendan introduced his line of foam decoys that he plans to employ this spring, while counting. From a far, they look pretty believable. We’ll see how well they work in the coming week!