As the lions or lambs of March goes out and April slides in, we finally had the first major south wind push of the season. Winds this morning, were nearly due south, slightly SW. Mostly cloudy skies gave way to full cloudiness and eventually rain by 9am. But in the 2 hr 40 minutes of counting, a quick 18,000+ birds flew past the tower this morning. This was the highest total count of the season, albeit a very short count. Birds began quickly grounding as the first sprinkles came and the entire morning flight was done by the time the rain was falling.
With Kyle out of town for holiday family time, Brad and Brendan substituted in for the count this morning. The morning was punctuated by a massive grackle and blackbird flight. The flocks were less organized and moving in both directions, making counting difficult. All the while, loose robin flocks moved by below the main flocks, mainly moving east to west.
A Short-eared Owl flew out over the parking lot, circled over the tower, and then proceeded to run circuits over the prairie to the south. For a few minutes it appeared to be feeding, before setting down just south of the tower for the day. Other new season highlights included a flyby Osprey around 8:15am, and a cooperative Vesper Sparrow that posed in the usual cottonwoods near the tower, yet evaded a photo today.
Other notables were a flock of 5 Common Loons that went over. Aside from the loons and 4 Caspian Terns, few waterfowl were moving. The first push of Tree Swallows occurred, as 28 birds went by. Rounding out the highlights were a nice bump of 5 Fox Sparrows. Only one was singing their sweet song however.
For the day, 18,500 birds were seen, comprising 48 species. For the full eBird list of the morning, visit here.