I suppose two season openers are always guaranteed to be cold. The first Cubs game of the year, and the first longshore flight count of the year! Today, Sunday, March 6 was no exception. While the temperature at dawn was a not so horrible 33 degrees, the temperatures failed to go anywhere from there through most of the morning, and wouldn’t actually climb until the sun came out in the afternoon. Add to that a south wind that had only begun to bring any potential migrants in right at dawn, and it was a long and cold morning.
Despite the less than ideal condition (hey, it could have been a north wind!), we officially logged 1,497 birds to begin the season and the race to the breeding ground has begun. Blackbirds led the charge with the first bump of male migrants. All told, 893 of them flew west, then northward, accounting for over half of the birds seen today. A few early meadowlarks alighted in from the lake as well.
The day’s best action was out over the lake. A few divers went by, including Red-breasted Mergansers, Canvasbacks, and Common Goldeneye. White-winged Scoters posted the best numbers today, as an impressive 59 were seen through the day, with a few flocks landing in the water out front. A half dozen Surf Scoters also made an appearance.
The clouds really failed to break up, thus not allowing much in the way of thermals to develop. But in a short period, 15 raptors and 57 cranes moved northward in the south winds.
Work continues on the longshore flight tower accessible ramp. Half of the joists are now in and the shape and length is very visible now. Hopefully some warm weather will allow the park crew some time to get out and continue working on it, and with any luck, complete it this spring.