Migration Forecast Promising

Still waiting for the promised migration to occur here in the Indiana Dunes. We have not had a good flight in a week, but it’s not as bad as we had a few years back when a 17 day streak of bad winds bird blocked us during the latter half of April. Fortunately, it looks like our patience may get rewarded with a bumper crop of southerly winds later this week. Migration should be back in order soon enough and we’ll likely catch up on some average arrival dates that seem to be lagging, after a stellar March start.

Tree Swallow
Tree swallow passing the longshore tower.

Thus far we’ve logged approximately 118 species of bird from the tower this year.  Surprisingly, the longshore tower site is still on top in terms of total species among the major hotspots in the state.  Even with 118, there are several species in which should have arrived this week that aren’t on the list.  On major group that has been few and far between have been swallows.  We calculated the date at which all six swallows were finally seen at the tower, those being Tree, N Rough-winged, Barn, Bank, Cliff Swallow, and Purple Martin.  The arrival for all six comes by:

2012: April 13
2013: April 18
2014: April 12
2015: April 15

The dates to log all six species would be this upcoming week, so it would seem we’re not too far behind the last four year average.  We still have half to go, and the rest, aside from Tree Swallow, have all been just single birds.

Here’s why we’re excited though.  The upcoming forecast for from days 3-10 all look promising for an influx of birds. This cold and wet weekend will stand in clear contrast to the warmer temperatures and more southerly flow that will usher a burst of moderate bird movement into and across the dunes area by late week. Of particular interest to the counters would simply be the end of morning temperatures below freezing!

Weekly dunes area forecast with increasing warmth and more prevalent southerly winds.  

With this pulse of migrants, we should catch up on some dozen new arrivals we’re expecting, in addition to some mixed bag rarities, that our southern relatives have been enjoying lately.  With that, we present our longshore tower top 20 wish list for the week of April 11-17. We’ll check back after the 17th and see how many got officially added to the list.

  1. Green Heron
  2. Little Blue Heron
  3. Broad-winged Hawk
  4. American Golden Plover
  5. Solitary Sandpiper
  6. Pectoral Sandpiper

    henslows sparrow kendall
    Henslow’s Sparrow, Dunes State Park Green Tower Count, 4/15/13.  Photo by John Kendall.
  7. Short-eared Owl
  8. Chimney Swift
  9. Brown Thrasher
  10. Cliff Swallow
  11. Bank Swallow
  12. House Wren
  13. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  14. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  15. Pine Warbler
  16. LeConte’s Sparrow
  17. Henslow’s Sparrow
  18. White-throated Sparrow
  19. Savannah Sparrow
  20. Swamp Sparrow



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