Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Magee area migrant fallout 5/8

This is a mid-day progress report from migrant traps on the lake shore in n.w. Ohio: Magee Marsh boardwalk (Lucas Co.) and the main banding station of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO), located about 5 miles east of Magee on the Navarre Unit of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Ottawa County. As predicted, the south winds last night brought in a huge influx of migrants today, making this the biggest day of the spring so far. Small numbers and moderate variety had been on the boardwalk at Magee on Monday evening, May 7, but this morning there were great numbers and excellent variety. I was able to confirm 27 warbler species present on the boardwalk, and heard possible reports of three others; highlights included large numbers of Blackburnians, Magnolias, and Chestnut-sideds, an influx of Tennessees and Northern Parulas, a few of the classic late-spring migrants such as Blackpoll, Canada, and Wilson's Warblers, and some "southern" warblers such as small numbers of Hooded, Worm-eating, and Prothonotary. I just heard from Kim that the BSBO banding station at Navarre also banded 27 species of warblers today, with large numbers of Blackburnians, Magnolias, and Black-and-whites; notable warblers there included Orange-crowned, Prothonotary, Worm-eating, Mourning, Hooded, Wilson's, and Canada.

On the non-warbler front, the boardwalk had its first big influx of Red-eyed Vireos today, and in fact all six of our regularly occurring vireos were there, although I only heard of one Philadelphia and didn't see it myself (yet! -- I'm headed back out there). The banding station at Navarre also had one Philadelphia Vireo. Baltimore Orioles were very numerous at both sites, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Scarlet Tanagers were conspicuous at both, and Cedar Waxwings arrived at both sites also. Empidonax flycatchers had a major arrival, with BSBO banding lots of Leasts plus a few Willow/Alders and Acadians. All five brown thrushes were seen at both the boardwalk and the banding station, with Swainson's especially numerous.

At this time of year, obviously, the people who work on the BSBO banding operation are extremely busy, but eventually all the daily totals will be available on the BSBO website at www.bsbobird.org . This research project has been going on seven days a week, spring and fall, for the last 15 years, with a very consistent degree of effort, so it gives a very accurate reading of what is really happening with the migration. Kim tells me that the station banded over 800 birds today, making it one of their larger days ever and attesting to the magnitude of today's fallout.

The south winds are supposed to continue tonight. I don't know if tomorrow's numbers will be smaller (because so many birds will leave on the south winds) or bigger (because even more will arrive), but I suspect that diversity will be excellent at all the migrant traps in n.w. Ohio at least through Thursday.

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