It’s been a difficult week of birding from the longshore platform. Winds have bounced back and forth and never blown one direction for more than a few hours. This weekend was a prime example of the entire week. Saturday began with warm conditions, but by 10am the north winds pushed ashore and shut down any semblence of a longshore migration. Sunday brought east winds and cloudy conditions. Certainly not ideal, but just enough to raise some hope and bring birders up to count birds anyway. If you combine the entire weekend’s effort, 8,500 birds were counted.
The most disappointing aspect of this week (and the week to come) is that there are so many new arrivals staged to arrive any day. Without south winds, these birds will stage to the south of us and only trickle in. Their window for record breaking entries and flights will close on us. Flickers are now weaning, and the next intro of swallows, kingbirds, and Yellow-rumped Warblers will depend on these south winds if they hope to arrive in large numbers (or better yet we hope to see arrive in large numbers).
As can be expected during this period, even though there were no major flights this weekend, a handful of new arrivals were logged. Those included Cliff Swallow, Lark Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, and Henslow’s Sparrow.
More exciting were a few rarer birds that flew by this weekend. The two making most note were close flybys of YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD on Saturday, and a SWAINSON’S HAWK on Sunday. The Swainson’s accompanied the best hawkflight of the season, as nearly 200 birds of prey flew past the tower, many directly over the beach in the strong east/southeast winds.
The season’s 189,000 birds stands with 130 collective species thus far. Many more should arrive if we can get a good south wind push. More birds, means more photos and more blogs!
On a side note, the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival has a openings left if you’d like to attend just the keynote presentation by James Currie on Saturday night, May 9th. For more information, check the registration page.