Sounds of the past and the future.

Today, the 196th year bird was found by the tower, a Northern Bobwhite!  Hearing that bird sing really makes you feel like you’ve gone back in time at least a century.  It was first heard singing a ways west of the tower, but later on it was heard singing right by the bird feeders!  One low quality picture managed to be taken…

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Hopefully this bird will stay around for the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival that takes place on the 17th-20th.  Another bird likely to stay is the Prairie Warbler that appears to have made his territory right next to the tower.

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This southern species continues to expand its range northward, and it would be nice to see it nest this close to the tower.

No Fish Crows were seen today, but there have now been 3 Fish Crow observations from the tower this year.  This is another one that we are hoping might make an appearance during the festival.

The Northern Bobwhite & an Eastern Wood-Pewee from today were new additions for the year list.

Here is today’s complete list… https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S45517974

And here are a few more pictures from today…

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Eastern Kingbirds

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Eastern Towhee

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5/9/2018

Today’s winds were out of the south.  Mid morning, multiple waves of rain passed through the area including 2 that were heavy downpours.  75 species were found at the tower today, one was new for the year, Yellow-billed Cuckoo.

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Other highlights include a Forster’s Tern, Peregrine Falcon, & Clay-colored Sparrow.  Species that peak around this time of year are still on the move including: 54 Eastern Kingbirds (highest count in 2018 so far), 246 Blue Jays, 80 Baltimore Orioles (highest count in 2018 so far), 51 Pine Siskins, & 219 American Goldfinches.

Lots of sparrows of several species were seen around the feeders today including: Chipping, Clay-colored, Field, White-crowned, Savannah, Lincoln’s & Eastern Towhee.

Below are a single Clay-colored Sparrow and a Chipping Sparrow & Savannah Sparrow together.

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The complete list from today can be viewed here.

Reviewing this April… and today.

This April, 129 species of birds were found by the tower.  By April 30th, the tower’s year list was at 137; now that May is about a week old, it is at 193.  Totaling only the days I was at the tower in April, 57,450 birds were counted.

Today winds were light and out of the south.  75 species were found by the tower today.  Some highlights include: The Prairie Warbler that appears to be on territory, Lark Sparrow, 2 Summer Tanagers, a Blue Grosbeak, and a Red Crossbill.

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Some of the nice numbers from today include: 37 Eastern Kingbirds, 1,208 Blue Jays, 42 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, 41 Indigo Buntings, & 57 Baltimore Orioles.

Here is today’s complete list… https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S45456066

5/4/2018

Here we have a fun looking image to describe a moment of this morning’s weather.  As I stood on the shoreline, I could literally see the difference between land and sea.  Thick gray clouds, some even causing rainfall were over the land, and clear fair weather was over Lake Michigan.  A nice day to be on a boat as some people were.  The wind came from the southwest, sometimes faster than 30 m.p.h. in the morning, but the afternoon is now a clam sunny day.

91 species of birds were found by the tower today, 3 were new for the year.  Today’s new species include: Sora, Least Flycatcher, & Grasshopper Sparrow.

Even this late into the spring, there are still White-winged Scoters & Red-breasted Mergansers to be counted.  10 scoters & 28 RB Mergansers were counted today.

3 American Woodcocks were heard peenting pre-dawn; they are still eager to display, but I guess the strong wind kept them from gaining altitude.

Other species that have recently returned to the area are also eager to establish their territories and find mates.  A male Ruby-throated Hummingbird felt like a male Indigo Bunting was a threat, so it made the effort to chase it around.

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A House Wren sang all day near the tower.  He seems to be looking at the bird house that has been looked at this spring by Eastern Bluebirds & Tree Swallows already.  He got extra excited, singing while displaying with wings open when a passing female briefly stopped to check him out, but she appeared to move on.

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Siskins & Goldfinches were still migrating in good numbers as they have been this week.  313 Pine Siskins & 878 American Goldfinches were counted today.

Other highlights include a Merlin, Prairie Warbler, & Summer Tanager.

Here is today’s complete list… https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S45255418

5/3/2018

Today’s fog conditions were rather interesting; mid morning, thick fog rolled in from Lake Michigan and immediately the temperature dropped 13 degrees.  The wind was generally light to calm and from the south.

88 species were found at the tower today, 7 of them were new for the year.  These new species were: Pied-billed GrebeAmerican BitternGreen HeronSemipalmated PloverCommon YellowthroatAmerican Redstart, and Dickcissel.

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Seeing that Bittern flying towards the east was easily the best highlight of the day.  Every expectable swallow species was present today, and 12 species of warblers were found including 2 Prairie Warblers.

It’s really looking like early May now with certain species passing the tower in good numbers including:

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks 23

Pine Siskins 104

Eastern Kingbirds 23

Blue Jays 99

Some earlier spring species are still around too (don’t you just love this time of year?)

This Common Loon was seen within close proximity of the beach today.

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Here is today’s complete list… https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S45219615

100 species day!

Once again, we had a warm day with winds blowing from the southwest.  100 species were found at the tower today, and 8,280 individuals counted!  16 of today’s species were new for the year.  18 of today’s species were warblers, including Yellow-throatedProthonotary.  Some species either tied or beat the all time high count record for the site.  Most notably was probably the 12 Red-breasted Nuthatches that tied the count from 5/1/2013.  This seemed to be a rather good winter for them, and now we see the northward push of them as they return to their boreal homeland.

Some more fun numbers…

927 total swallows of 5 species were seen today.

82 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers

178 Palm Warblers

Orchard Orioles

59 Baltimore Orioles

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1011 American Goldfinches (9th time a count of 1000+ has happened here)

& 334 Pine Siskins.

Also noteworthy was that today had the largest number of visiting birders.  For all those who came by, thank you.  Days with massive flight and species diversity like this are a lot to handle, and there will probably be plenty more days like this to come this spring.

Here is today’s complete checklist… https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S45180373

Warbler Mania

Tuesday, May 1 brought a flood of migrants into the dunes area.  Overnight winds from Sunday and Monday night created one of the most memorable warbler mornings at the tower in a long time.  In addition to the warblers that were moving, a new record for total new arrivals in one day may have been beat for the tower site.

Backing up first, Monday, April 30 was the first south wind in nearly a week.  There was a good movement yesterday of blackbirds, and a few first arrivals as well, including the first oriole, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Palm Warbler, Yellow Warbler, and Bank Swallow.  Over 3,200 birds flew past, comprising 68 species.

By far the highlight on Monday was the dunes’s area’s third ever FISH CROW.  This was also the second one at the site this year and first ever video/audio documented bird.

On Tuesday, 80 species were logged in a shortened survey until 10:30am.  In this period over 5,000 birds were counted.  The dawn flight was intense in warblers and other first arrivals.  Though blackbirds still made up the largest total, Yellow-rumped Warblers flew by in the strong winds, with 800+ being seen.  Equally impressive for the site, over 300 Palm Warblers went by.  The warbler list was immense, with Blue-winged, Blackburnian, Yellow, Pine, Cape May, Nashville, Tennessee, and Orange-crowned all being seen.  Unusual at this date as well, as the appearance of both Bay-breasted and Blackpoll Warbler.

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Eastern Kingbird on May 1, 2018

Orioles impressed with 62 Baltimore Orioles and 8 Orchard Orioles.  Their Bobolink cousins also appeared today.  The first kingbirds arrived today.  Finally, finches did well as well.  Both Purple Finches and Pine Siskins were up, and goldfinches topped 500 birds!

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Blue-winged Warbler on May 1, 2018.

The south winds should continue overnight for another good day on Wednesday if you’re near the dunes area.  Come on out.

Here are the official totals for:
Monday, April 30- https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S45108443
Tuesday, May 1-https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S45141730