Group Effort

The longshore flight continued again for the fourth consecutive morning of climbing temperatures.  Today winds finally shifted a little more southerly than easterly allowing for 80 degree temperatures and a little better longshore flight compared to yesterday.  For the day, 4,607 birds flew past the tower site today, comprising 78 species, a tie with our previous highest species count this season.

There was a good contingent of birders assisting today with the promise that the overnight winds brought some new species in.  While the flight was fair to good for the day, no new species were seen today.  But, some good highlights included White-winged Scoter, 9 Great Egrets, 3 Wilson’s Snipe, 264 Northern Flickers, 9 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, 27 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 3 Vesper Sparrows, 1,826 Red-winged Blackbirds, 1,663 Common Grackles, and five each of Purple Finches and Pine Siskins.

It was the best day thus far for Northern Flickers this week.  Even cooler was the complete sweep of all possible woodpeckers today.  This included a single Red-headed Woodpecker, Pileated, and 2 Hairy Woodpeckers.

Turkey Vultures over the Green Tower site.

Unfortunately, a raptor flight once again failed to materialize. All four days of east winds have not produced a single hawkflight worth mentioning.  Today 38 raptors were all that moved, and the majority were Turkey Vultures.

An interesting aside is that fact that few sites on the Great Lakes make note of similar longshore flights.  Let alone, log them.  There is no doubt that similar movements of birds are taking place on each of the Great Lakes under certain conditions, wind directions, etc… So it’s nice to read of any place on the Great Lakes that gets a chance to witness this phenomenon and record something similar to what we see here.  Take this Lake Superior  count that occurred today half way between Duluth and the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin.  Their 9,000 birds  is no doubt just a taste of some larger counts they could log if the blackbirds and grackles had really been moving.

Today’s full list is here.  We stand at 127 species for the year, and still have the highest hotspot count for the state this year.


Flicker… and another…. and another….

Just a quick update on yesterday’s longshore flight for Friday, April 15, the day that used to be tax day.  Like the previous few days, winds were again east to southeast with a chilly start, but soon warming to the season’s hottest day thus far.  2,025 birds from 72 species were logged Friday.  It was the second most diverse day so far, but still lagging behind total counts, likely due to the current wind direction.  ‘

New for the season were Chimney Swift and Broad-winged Hawk.  Other highlights included 2 Lesser Scaup, 12 Red-throated Loons, 1 Merlin, 2 Pine Warblers feeding in the back prairie, away from the tower, and a real influx of Chipping Sparrows, with 30 being seen.

flicker tree
Hiding in the “Flicker Tree.” .

215 Northern Flickers swooped by.  Marking the third consecutive day of good movements.  While no records were broken, we have seen over 500 this week.

Winter finches, having been fairly absent this spring showed up today.  A single Pine Siskin and 3 Purple Finch were seen.

A little video clip of a Peregrine seen today is below, as well as some local cranes seen next door.  To see the full list, visit here.