With real south winds overnight, not those pesudo southeast imposters, a good movement of bird arrived in the dunes. With dawn before 6am, and a beautiful spring dune scene unfolding, new songs could be heard all around. As expected, the longshore flight benefited with by producing the highest species total for the season. The morning ended with 82 species seen. Bluejays, goldfinch, and blackbirds helped carry the individual total to 4,730 birds counted today. The season now stands at 153.
New birds were plenty. Within the first hour the first Yellow Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Lark Sparrow, Indigo Bunting, Baltimore Oriole, and Orchard Oriole all flew past. Later in the morning, a even rarer (for the dunes) Blue Grosbeak visited the tower site. The recent fire next to the tower has been a benefit to bug eating birds who come down to check it out. In addition to sparrows, an abundance of Palm Warblers have been using it. Today, 75 Palms were counted. Yellow-rumps also deserve a mention, since a decent 177 went by as well.
The Blue Jay flight improved dramatically from yesterday’s start. It was the first 1,000+ Blue Jay day. The near constant stream of dozens at a time went by, all going east. With them, smaller American Goldfinches also posted their first 1,000+ day too. 1,049 little undulating wild canaries were logged. Mixed in were more siskins. Pine Siskins, in recent years, have put on an incredible late spring push through the dunes. It’s not rare to see large groups moving past the tower in May. Today, 68 more went past.
Not to be outdone, the hawkflight was stellar today. What lacked today in Red-tailed Hawk and Sharp-shinned Hawk counts was easily made up for with the Broad-winged Hawk number. 206 individual Broad-winged Hawks kettled past the tower. It is the highest total we’ve had since officially starting the longshore flight in 2012, and sits in the top 10 count of highest BWHA records. Also noteworthy was the season’s first Rough-legged Hawk. Earlier April weather had prevented any hawk watch, and we were afraid the season could have finished without having logged one.
Rounding out the notables was a good swallow movement, with all species being logged. Orange-crowned Warbler was seen again today. A single Rusty Blackbird joined some Red-winged Blackbirds. Lastly, a singing Purple Finch serenaded the observers today.
All in all, a good day. See today’s complete list of all 82 species here.
P.s. a Rose-breasted Grosbeak at the writer’s house this afternoon in Valpo, but not official on the tower list this year… yet!