Monday, April 28, 2008

Magee Marsh April 28

As predicted, Saturday (April 26 -- Audubon's birthday) was the best migration day of the spring so far in the Magee area. Numbers and variety were both excellent, with more than 20 species of warblers present, including southern "overflight" species like Worm-eating and Prairie and some that typically come later, such as multiple Blackpoll Warblers. Most of the vireos and thrushes were recorded, with a lot of Veeries and Swainson's Thrushes. Gray Catbirds and Yellow Warblers arrived in force, and White-throated Sparrows and Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers were again abundant.

As usual after this kind of big influx, the birding continued to be quite good on following days, with the numbers and variety falling off gradually. There were still a lot of birds on Sunday and good numbers today, Monday 4/28.

Today I didn't go to the Magee boardwalk until late afternoon and it certainly seemed that the birding was getting better later in the evening, perhaps because of birds filtering in from other areas. After 7 p.m. there was a huge amount of activity near the west end of the boardwalk, even though it was cold and threatening to rain. At one point I had a dozen Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, 30-odd warblers (Palm and Yellow-rumped), and at least 25 White-throated Sparrows around me, I was watching a Hooded Warbler and a Black-and-white Warbler while a Northern Parula and an Orchard Oriole were singing overhead, and I looked up to see an Osprey flying over carrying a fish. Lots of action! Of course the boardwalk is wonderful early in the morning, but it's worth remembering that it can also be very productive late in the day if that's the only time you can get there.

For some of today's birds that are likely to be around tomorrow as well -- the area near number 16 on the boardwalk had a lot of activity, including several Northern Waterthrushes. There are still a couple of Rusty Blackbirds near number 14 and a Winter Wren near number 4. Hooded Warbler and Blackpoll Warbler are being conspicuous between numbers 7 and 16. At least 3 Swainson's Thrushes were out working the north edge (beach side) of the west parking lot.

Tonight and Tuesday (4/29) are supposed to be fairly cold, with northerly winds and with rain tonight. The migrants that are currently in the area probably won't leave tonight, and on the basis of current weather predictions, I don't expect many to arrive before Thursday. We may get lucky again with the conditions setting things up for excellent birding again next weekend. But in the meantime there are enough birds around that it's worth getting out to any of the lakeshore migrant traps or any wooded areas if you get the chance during the week.

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