Tag Archives: american bittern

Diminishing Returns of Migration

Monday, April 18 saw the fifth consecutive day of longshore counting. Overnight lows stayed a mild 57 degrees and warmed to a stifling 87 degrees in town.  Fortunately, a north lake breeze right at the shore and tower site helped to temper the heat, but the winds were light enough that the cooling winds did not travel too far inland today.  As we’ve learned after long stretches of warm and generally southern winds, each day produces less and less of a migration.  Though continuous, the pulse of migrants becomes a steady trickle, until a cold front or similar weather system resets the migration and a new pulse starts the cycle again.  Today’s total was 1,059 birds, comprised of 68 species. The last four days all saw totals of 2,000+ birds.

Despite the smaller returns right now, new species continue to show up and the newly arrived are growing in numbers.  We added two new species today with the addition of a flyby Northern Mockingbird, and more unusual a far flying American Bittern.  Mockingbirds are generally rare in the dunes area and the bittern is typically far more secretive.  We’re now at 132 species for the season.

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One of many Common Loons on the big lake today.

Other highlights for the morning included a season high 27 Common Loons on the lake, 6 Lesser Scaup, 61 flickers, a beach flying Pileated Woodpecker, 76 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 41 Chipping Sparrows, and 9 Pine Siskins. 24 goldfinch today were a tease of the larger goldfinch flight coming in a few weeks.

What was not seen today… not a single hawk, falcon, or eagle.  In fact a single Turkey Vulture made up the entire day’s hawkflight.  Signs that SE winds do not produce hawkflights can be written in stone now!

To see today’s entire 68 species list, click here.