As predicted, southern winds began to waft in early Wednesday morning. The day started cold, well below freezing, but soon warmed to the upper 50s. Similarly, today, Thursday ,April 14 also began chilly (35 degrees) and also warmed with slightly stronger winds. The winds the last few days have been unusually oriented from the east, rather than west. A strong system near Greenland is cycling wind our way with what they call an Omega blocking pattern stopping fronts from pushing east.
Today’s report is a two day summary for both Wednesday and Thursday. As predicted, the pulse of warm air has brought new migrants in, with each Thursday out doing Wednesday. Hopefully Friday will out perform Thursday! For Wednesday, we logged 78 species, comprising 2,758 individual birds. On Thursday we tempered the species count to 71, but amassed 4,539 total birds for two day total of 7,297 birds.
Highlights on Wednesday were 85 raptors, 4 Bonapartes Gulls, nearly every woodpecker (except Hairy), a singing Brown Thrasher, the season’s first Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, both kinglets, the seasons’ first Pine Warbler, and good influx of Chipping Sparrows.
Highlights for Thursday included 7 late White-winged Scoters, a Ruddy Duck, 35 late Sandhill Cranes, a significant Northern Flicker movement totaling 196 birds, Cliff Swallow, two gnatcatchers, an early Palm Warbler, and a decent blackbird movement with many Rusty Blackbirds still moving through (243 today).
The last two days have added 6 new species to bring the tower list to 126 species for the year. How’d we do with our wish list of 20 species to be added before Monday? Birds checked off are in bold. 6 down, 14 to go!
Little Blue Heron
American Golden Plover
An interesting phenomenon with the recent easterly winds can be seen by watching the radar at night. With the winds the last two nights, there has been evident bird migration occurring on the radar at night. The standard overnight radar in migration is the classic donut shape, showing thousands of birds in the air at the moment. See to the right. To learn more about reading radar for birds, visit this link. The image seen here was taken overnight Wednesday around 1:00am.
If you visit a good radar archive site such as here, you can see time lapse and regional reflectivity to watch the radar from several locations. The image below was captured just after sunset Wednesday night. You can see the exodus of birds along the eastern side of the lake, from the Indiana Dunes north… exactly where the easterly winds were likely pushing birds against the last few days.
Winds should continue a southern trend, with more south than east as the next few days progress. We should knock off a few new species Friday-Sunday. You can read the full Wednesday list and Thursday list for all the species seen.