Greetings from the Indiana Dunes. It’s been a long week or so since we last provided an update. Truth be told, it’s the sad fact for so many blogs to wither away. Fortunately, we’ve been able to capture and report on the migration in the dunes for four years now. In the reality that has been the last two weeks, we have counted thousands of birds, hosted a very successful bird festival for the very first time, trained our staff for the upcoming season, dazzled in amazing warblers visiting the park, the nature center, and it’s feeders. It’s now nearly 10 days since the festival ended and we’re now getting a chance to update everyone.
The birds continue to fly by the tower. Brendan has logged many thousand neotropic migrants in the past week. Obviously todays cooler weather has put a damper on it, but there should be still some late movement coming through in the next week. These include flycatchers, waxwings, late warblers, cuckoos, and some shorebirds. We’ll give an update soon on where we stand for the year.
In the cooler weather, both of the last two weekends, we’ve seen a multitude of warblers visiting the park feeders. The bird bath and nearby shrubs have played host to many great species that can be seen from the comfort of the viewing bench. Here’s a few below…. can you name them all!? First 3 to name them gets a Dunes Birding Festival Bumper Sticker and Magnet!
Lastly, the Dunes birdathon just occurred this past weekend. And.. what an interesting day for a birdathon. An absolutely interesting day greeted Alexandra Forsythe, Matt Kalwasinski, Penny Starin, Kimbelry Ehn, and myself to tour the Lake Michigan Lakeshore searching for every bird we could find. Despite concerns about hot weather and rain showers, we avoided nearly all of it, and only had a few sprinkles throughout the day. The temperatures stayed low enough to keep bird activity going all day long. We couldn’t quite make our new lofty goal of 170, but came close. As luck would have it, we tied last year’s record of 165 species. The day began with a peenting woodcock at Cowle’s Bog and ended after dark at the Gary Bald Eagle nest… just like last year.
We raised some funds for bird conservation and took the rare chance to be outside in nature for over 18 hours in a row! Despite all this, it’s amazing how many common birds you can miss. Our biggest misses this year… Belted Kingfisher, Barred Owl, and Veery! Below is our full list for the day if you’re interested. If you pledged, you’ll be getting all of this in the mail later in the week.
2015 Indiana Dunes Birdathon Results
Black-crowned Night Heron
Eastern Screech Owl
Eastern Wood Pewee
N Rough-winged Swallow
Black-throated Green Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Start Time: 2:35am
End Time: 8:25pm
Total Birding: 17 hours, 50 minutes