Friday, April 17, 2009

Big migration expected 4/18

Friday update: Last night (Thursday night, April 16) the winds were essentially calm overnight. So while they weren't exactly helping to push migrants north, the winds weren't holding them back, either, and a fair number of short-distance migrant birds arrived in northwest Ohio overnight. I just now (Friday morning the 17th) talked to Mark Shieldcastle, who is out at the main BSBO banding station, a few miles east of Magee Marsh. Mark said that there was an evident increase in numbers of Hermit Thrushes, Song Sparrows, and others. The Hermit Thrushes this morning were mostly adults, which tend to migrate north earlier in spring than the one-year-old birds, so it looks like we're still in early stages of that species' migration -- in other words, the scarcity so far doesn't mean they've slipped past us undetected, it means the bulk of them haven't arrived yet.

Mark also had looked at the weather pattern and said that it looks good for a lot more birds to arrive overnight tonight, so that Saturday could be quite a good day. We're still talking temperate-zone migrants, not arrivals from the tropics, but there could be a ton of kinglets around, a good mix of early migrant sparrows, possibly our first really big push of Yellow-rumped Warblers, and possibly some overshooting southern species like Yellow-throated Warbler or Louisiana Waterthrush. Early migrants like Fox Sparrow and Rusty Blackbird are likely to decrease in numbers after this weekend as they move on north.

At any rate, it looks like Saturday in particular will be a good day to get outside. We have to feel that fate is smiling on the birders when it happens that the big migration occurs on a weekend!

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