The longshore flight for the last two days continued with the light south winds present. However, the flight has not been what one would expect this time of year. The birds have been much more similar in numbers to the cold 2014 season count. Longshore flight counts occurred on both Saturday, April 4 and Sunday, April 5 (Easter), however only a combined 4,000 birds were added to the season total, now approaching 150,000 birds. Saturday began with south winds, but had been north through much of the night, therefore no major nocturnal movement had occurred. Sunday was warmer, but with gusty 20-25 mph winds. Few birds were braving the stiff winds to migrate. On a side note, Sunday was the first morning without shelf ice. She’s officially gone!
Despite the lower totals, a number of first of the year birds flew past this weekend. April is a month of daily arrivals. So it makes sense that even in the slower days, a new bird or two can be expected. New for the weekend were arriving Osprey, Brown Thrasher, and a few Vesper Sparrows. With a little luck, one of these Osprey will find the nesting platforms that were installed last year.
In regards to hawks, it has seemed like a pretty slow year for hawks thus far. There have been no major hawk flight days with over 100 birds. Though the peak is still to come, it was pointed out that the few handful we’ve had each day is slowly adding up. You can see the season totals so far below. This right on par with last year’s count, and is a good clip ahead of 2013, when we only had 301 birds of prey logged by this point.
This year we have jumped right into the birds, with little introduction on how we count the birds, why we count, and the species diversity. With our fourth year now going, it seems helpful to refer back to past posts that help explain our process and why we do it. So today, I’ll direct you to Peterson’s Birding Basics- A green tower prerequisite. It’s a good intro to counting the most numerous birds being seen right now.
Lastly, we received word yesterday the inaugural Indiana Dunes Birding Festival was set to receive it’s 200th registration sometime today. Quite an accomplishment for it’s first year. If you haven’t registered yet, and hope to, you’ll certainly not being getting the early worm. Field trips are said to be full, and many of the programs will be tough getting into. Better register today than risk not getting to go!