The beginning of March seems like a distant memory already. Some 31 days have now passed as we turn the page to April. Memory has now faded as to whether March came in like a lion or a lamb, but today is much fresher. The weather was very lion like, but the birds were a lamb. So lamb like that a mere 630 birds were all that were counted today. Such low numbers might not even get blogged! So low was the day, only Ring-billed Gulls reached triple digits, and that’s among 57 species seen!
The weather this morning was a warm southwest gale. Though not as hard as some other stormy mornings, a constant 20 mph wind brought multiple layers of clouds sailing over. Rain was throughout the region to our south, east, west, and north. Yet amazingly, the tower site remained dry through most of the morning. Despite this, there was a general dearth of birds. No blackbirds or significant robin flocks took flight in the weather. Occasional swallows and a few good streams of dabblers were the bulk of the birds. Most dabblers were Blue-winged Teal.
The only new birds for the season was a pair of turkeys poking around the tower site and a lone Hermit Thrush. The turkeys simply trotted right up the road and nearly to the counters, then took full sprint around the longshore tower. Some ten minutes later one of them could be seen in full sprint across the west lot below. Wild Turkeys are typically annual birds from the tower, but not very common.
As March closes and April arrives, anticipation is high. April is a time of constant new species, while still experiencing good numbers of blackbirds and robins. It’s a time for the best hawkwatches… when Swainson’s or Goshawks go by. It’s also a time for rarities. From Say’s Phoebe, Upland Sandpipers, Western Kingbirds, Yellow-headed Blackbirds and more. For the season so far just a tad over 150,000 birds have been officially counted. The tower site has accumulated 114 species in just a month. To compare that with all the other state’s hotspots on eBird, see the running total below. Note that the two from today are not on the list yet. Another cool feature of using eBird is the checklists that can be generated. If you’re visiting in April, use this checklist at the site to log your birds on paper. If you want the entire checklist for the Indiana Dunes State Park, you can download this list.
Today’s full 630 birds are here. See you in April!