It was a pretty decent day to start the season off. It was clear and cold, much of the morning was below freezing, and the wind was coming from the East-Southeast. There was a movement of Sandhill Cranes totaling 2,052. Raptors included Turkey Vulture, Bald Eagle, Red-shouldered & Red-tailed Hawks, & American Kestrel. A flock of 35 Greater White-fronted Geese passed by over Lake Michigan. Eastern Bluebirds are moving along; 70 of them were counted today. Eastern Meadowlarks are back in the area, today 6 were seen including 2 that decided to stop and perch right next to the tower like this one…
This is just the beginning though. It should be interesting to find out what’s in store for this spring.
It’s been probably noticeable that we haven’t given much in updates for the last few days. After the nice surge of warm air that helped thaw things out and melt all the nearby snow, winds have wavered much more, with north winds pushing down the lake every few days. It’s been rare to have a good night of south winds to prep the counters for a decent longshore flight.
Despite this, there have been a few notables that should be mentioned. Longshore flight counts occurred on March 20, March 21, and March 23. None of these counts brought any impressive numbers of birds to the dunes. In fact, collectively, fewer than 6,000 birds were seen on the three combined days. Alas, here are the highlights you may have missed….
1) On 3/21, a group of 4 hungry Herring Hulls were watched harassing a European Starling. Despite his or her efforts, Starling flew right out of the beak of 3-4 gulls before finally falling to the water, short of the beach.
2) on 3/20, the season’s single and only Common Redpoll landed near the counters and stuck around for nearly 30 minutes. It was last seen near the tower feeders, but never actually feeding on them.
3) On a dreary and cold 3/23 with a surprise 4 inches of snow, a beautiful sub-adult Golden Eagle drifted past the tower.
In other news, work progresses slowly on the observation tower ADA access. With the brief warm up, the footers were set and concrete is ready to be poured into what will be the long accessible ramp to reach the top of the tower. We’re hoping work will complete on this phase by late summer.
Lastly, Brock’s Winter Lakefront Report, covering all the good birds seen from December through February is now online. Access it here.