Moist Advection!

Thursday, April 9 brought a brief return to longshore counting in the dunes.  The previous couple of days have been a mix bag of rain, north winds, and generally poor migration conditions.  Even today was in the air, as east winds were predicted to dominate the area.  However, dawn found the dunes smack dab in the middle of two storm fronts moving through the lower Great Lakes.  Conditions were warm, moist, and full of birds migrating between the storms.  The southerly winds were bringing warm and wet air from the Gulf, but also birds that have been staging in southern Indiana and points south.

By noon, storms rolled in and shut down migration, but not before 10,000+ birds were logged, comprising 70 species.  New birds for the year included Pied-billed Grebe, Wilson’s Snipe (in the prairie), Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Hermit Thursh, Savannah Sparrow, and Swamp Sparrow.  Clearly new birds were riding the moist advection overnight.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at bird tower site.
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at bird tower site.

Blackbirds and grackles put on a good early morning movement. Particularly grackles.  5,000+ grackles, doubled the number of red-wings moving through.  Also notable in numbers were 21 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers.  Not record count, but still pretty good.

Without the sunshine, the raptors didn’t put on a very big flight, but the fast flying raptors took advantage of the south winds.  4 Merlins doubled the season total thus far.  Kestrels, Peregrine Falcon, and Sharp-shinned Hawks rounded out the majority of raptors today.

Exciting news to share is the first Osprey on the Dunes State Park Osprey tower.  If you remember, the towers were put up last year and reported in our blog in 2014.  Well now, a year later, Becky Muraro was able to capture the following photo from atop the Kemil Rd tower. It hasn’t been seen since, but it’s obvious that the first Osprey has already taken notice to the beautiful nesting site!  If you build it….

Osprey on Kemil rd tower, April 2.   Photo by Becky Muraro.
Osprey on Kemil rd tower, April 2. Photo by Becky Muraro.

SUNP0185 (1280x952) (1280x952)

Today’s full list follows:
Canada Goose 12
Wood Duck 4
American Wigeon 1
Mallard 3
Blue-winged Teal 8
Green-winged Teal 36
White-winged Scoter 3
Bufflehead 5
Red-breasted Merganser 8
Pied-billed Grebe 1
Horned Grebe 4
Double-crested Cormorant 64
Great Blue Heron 6
Great Egret 1
Turkey Vulture 13
Northern Harrier 3
Sharp-shinned Hawk 4
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 3
Killdeer 10
Wilson’s Snipe 1
Ring-billed Gull 20
Herring Gull 40
Great Black-backed Gull 2 Adults.
Caspian Tern 26
Mourning Dove 56
Belted Kingfisher 6
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 21
Northern Flicker 79
American Kestrel 10
Merlin 4
Peregrine Falcon 1
Eastern Phoebe 3
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 4
Horned Lark 6
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 1
Purple Martin 3
Tree Swallow 110
Barn Swallow 10
Black-capped Chickadee 3
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1
Eastern Bluebird 13
Hermit Thrush 2
American Robin 696
European Starling 86
Lapland Longspur 12
Yellow-rumped Warbler 6
Eastern Towhee 1
American Tree Sparrow 4
Chipping Sparrow 3
Field Sparrow 8
Vesper Sparrow 1
Savannah Sparrow 1
Fox Sparrow 3
Song Sparrow 4
Swamp Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco 34
Northern Cardinal 2
Red-winged Blackbird 2892
Eastern Meadowlark 1
Rusty Blackbird 254
Common Grackle 5250
Brown-headed Cowbird 377
House Finch 1
Purple Finch 3
American Goldfinch 2
House Sparrow 1


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