Yesterday produced an early warbler migration madness that is worth a quick blog post here. Why any particular day is better than the next for migration depends primarily on weather conditions, especially wind speeds and directions. Why spectacles like yesterday happen on one south wind day over another is one of those mysteries of migration that we’ll likely have more questions than answers.
Yesterday morning welcomed the dunes with very warm south winds. Temperatures were already in the mid 60s at dawn, and shortly after dawn, the chips of Yellow-rumped Warblers could be heard and subsequently seen in mass numbers past the tower. The first hour along produced approximately 300 Yellow-rumped Warblers. From that point on, the intensity increased to rapid flights of dozens of birds per minute. With clickers in hand, the surveyors began 10 minute point counts. After each ten minutes, we cleared the score and started over. The quick burst of birds is well seen in the chart below.
By the time the flight concluded, we had logged 2,213 butterbutts (37% of all birds counted yesterday). This is the third highest ever count in Indiana. The two higher counts, 2,823 and 2,570 both occurred at the same location, here at the state park longshore tower. Facebook users can see a short clip of counting here. The total also sits as the highest April total in the Great Lakes, and second highest spring Great Lakes count (according to eBird data).
Almost as equally noteworthy were the Pine Warbler flight. Yesterday’s 47 Pine Warblers may be a new state single count record. 3 Orange-crowned Warblers were also
pretty good this early in the season. 57 Palm Warblers also moved yesterday.
Rounding out the other highlights of the 66 species logged yesterday were one Wild Turkey, 2 Solitary Sandpipers, a small influx of 164 Blue Jays, 7 Red-breasted Nuthatches, and a few Purple Finches still moving.