Dodging Rain Drops

Early morning calm between the rain storms.  April 12, 2015.
Early morning calm between the rain storms. April 12, 2015.

A warm and humid Monday greeted the dunes today, April 12.  The radar overnight indicated some major bird movement, but when rain enters the radar, it’s always difficult to gauge how many of the birds will actually reach the lakeshore for the morning flight.  Equally as difficult can be deciding when to roll out of bed to catch the morning flight when you hear thunder and lightning outside your bedroom.  Arriving at the longshore tower at the start of a rain storm leads to waterlogged counters, wet data sheets, and disgruntled spirits.  Waves came though this morning and both the counter and the blog writer got a little wet trying to time the arrival between these waves.  But, soon enough, the biggest wave passed and what remained of the morning flight took off and the morning’s count wasn’t too bad.

Poor photo of two Vesper Sparrows.  Taken through iPhone at 100 yards away.  4/12/15.
Poor shot of two Vesper Sparrows taken through iPhone at 100 yards away. 4/12/15.

For Monday, April 12, 3,892 birds, comprising 73 species flew past the tower.  Little bits of everything expected by this date could describe it best.  A handful of ducks made it past in the off lighting.  A handful of non-thermal kettling hawks went by.  Mixed passerines came by in small groups.  Perhaps most interestingly was a a flock of 4 Vesper Sparrows that came down the beach and landed in a small cottonwood together for an extended period.

Swooping Yellow-bellied Sapsucker from the big cottonwood by the tower.  4/12/15.
Swooping Yellow-bellied Sapsucker from the big cottonwood by the tower. 4/12/15.

Flickers and sapsuckers continued their undulating march northward.  With 60 flickers and 20 sapsuckers, they are close to approaching 1,000 and 100 for the season respectively.  Watching sapsuckers go by every few minutes, with their white stripes on their wings is always a neat seasonal occurrence, if not for just a week or two on the tower.

Annuals for the morning would include a flyby Greater Yellowlegs, a singing House Wren, and two White-throated Sparrows at the tower feeders.  The feeders have now hosted 9 sparrow feeders thus far this season, not including House Sparrows (weaver finches).


By afternoon the north winds had set in, so it looks like a break until Thursday.  Today’s full list follows.  Don’t forget that any blog photo can be clicked on for a larger version.

Canada Goose 17
Wood Duck 6
Mallard 2
Blue-winged Teal 7
Northern Shoveler 1
Red-breasted Merganser 33
Common Loon 4
Horned Grebe 2
Double-crested Cormorant 45
Great Blue Heron 4
Great Egret 2
Turkey Vulture 2
Northern Harrier 3
Cooper’s Hawk 1
Bald Eagle 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Sandhill Crane 1
Killdeer 2
Greater Yellowlegs 1
Bonaparte’s Gull 1
Ring-billed Gull 95
Herring Gull 1
Great Black-backed Gull 8 5 imm. and 3 adults.
Caspian Tern 14
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 2
Mourning Dove 64
Belted Kingfisher 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 20
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 60
American Kestrel 2
Merlin 1
Peregrine Falcon 1
Eastern Phoebe 2
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 1
Tree Swallow 53
Barn Swallow 3
Black-capped Chickadee 1
Tufted Titmouse 2
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
House Wren 1
Carolina Wren 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 6
Eastern Bluebird 4
Hermit Thrush 1
American Robin 47
Brown Thrasher 5
European Starling 6
Yellow-rumped Warbler 20
Eastern Towhee 3
American Tree Sparrow 1
Chipping Sparrow 4
Field Sparrow 4
Vesper Sparrow 4
Song Sparrow 2
Swamp Sparrow 1
White-throated Sparrow 2
Dark-eyed Junco 8
Northern Cardinal 2
Red-winged Blackbird 1266
Eastern Meadowlark 6
Rusty Blackbird 2
Common Grackle 1935
Brown-headed Cowbird 21
House Finch 4
Purple Finch 59
Pine Siskin 5
American Goldfinch 2
House Sparrow 1


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