Aerial Flyers Only!

After a turbulent night, the longshore flight for Friday, April 10 was restricted to a select few.  Despite hoping for a more fruitful flight, this morning was greeted to strong, gusting west winds.  The skies were clouded and it looked almost gloomy.  The overnight brought howling winds, damaging storms, and even tornadoes to the west of the park in Illinois.  The early morning gloom  however would fade away to beautiful sunshine, despite the breezy conditions.

As alluded to above, there was hope for a good flight, but only 862 birds could be mustered.  Waterfowl made another little push over the lake, and some of the more aerial raptors took wing.  Most notable was an excellent push of Merlins.  Today’s 10 birds ties the state’s second highest count.  The previous 10 count and current state record single day count of 13 also belong to the longshore tower site.

Also expected, swallows put on a good movement today too.  Two new first of the year birds were logged. The first being a late and outgoing Thayer’s Gull, and the second was the season’s first Broad-winged Hawk.

Many park visitors are also getting treated to other animals besides birds.  The resident fox now makes near daily trips past the tower and is being seen more and more by park visitors, now that spring is bringing more people out.  The photo below was just taken yesterday in the campgrounds!

Red Fox at the campground entrance.  April 9, 2015.
Red Fox at the campground entrance. April 9, 2015.

The full list follows:

Canada Goose 1
Wood Duck 4
Gadwall 11
Mallard 6
Blue-winged Teal 7
Northern Shoveler 7
Green-winged Teal 4
Redhead 20
Lesser Scaup 27
White-winged Scoter 1
Bufflehead 12
Hooded Merganser 1
Red-breasted Merganser 27
Red-throated Loon 7
Common Loon 7
Horned Grebe 7
Double-crested Cormorant 20
Great Blue Heron 1
Turkey Vulture 10
Osprey 3
Northern Harrier 6
Sharp-shinned Hawk 5
Cooper’s Hawk 4
Broad-winged Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 14
Sandhill Crane 2
Ring-billed Gull 335
Herring Gull 116
Thayer’s Gull 1 imm.
Glaucous Gull 1
Great Black-backed Gull 5
Caspian Tern 9
Mourning Dove 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 4
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 11
Merlin 10 All birds flying west.
Eastern Phoebe 2
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 4
Tree Swallow 89
Barn Swallow 17
Black-capped Chickadee 1
Carolina Wren 1
Eastern Bluebird 2
Brown Thrasher 1
European Starling 8
Eastern Towhee 1
American Tree Sparrow 2
Field Sparrow 3
Song Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco 6
Red-winged Blackbird 2
Common Grackle 1
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
Pine Siskin 7
American Goldfinch 1
House Sparrow 1


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