Thursday, April 29, 2010

Migration update 4/29

This morning -- Thursday 4/29, as predicted, there was a decent movement of diurnal migrants along the Lake Erie shoreline at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area. Broad-winged Hawk and Sharp-shinned Hawk were moving in decent numbers, and there were some small migrant flocks of Blue Jays and American Goldfinches following the lake shore. There were a few Neotropical migrants in the woods along the Magee boardwalk, with small numbers of Nashville, Black-throated Green, and Black-and-white warblers, Baltimore Oriole, Warbling Vireo, and a few others. Numbers of Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) and Palm warblers still appear to be picking up, and Ruby-crowned Kinglets are abundant.

I talked to Julie Shieldcastle at the BSBO main banding site (on the Navarre unit of Ottawa Natl Wildlife Refuge, about four miles east of Magee) and she said the selection of birds there this morning was quite similar, with the addition of one Orange-crowned Warbler, plus one Wood Thrush, more Hermit Thrushes, and larger numbers of White-throated Sparrows.

Based on what we're seeing and on the weather forecast, it still looks as if Friday April 30 and Saturday May 1 should be very good days for arrival of migrants on the lake shore in n.w. Ohio. The winds should continue to be southerly at least through Saturday morning. Friday it will be quite warm and windy in the afternoon, and Saturday morning there are supposed to be scattered showers starting before dawn. Depending on the exact location of those showers, the birding on Saturday could be anything from fairly good to fantastic. But Friday should be a day for a lot of "first-of-the-season" birds.

If you come to the area for migrants, take time to check some of the areas back away from the lake shore itself. Not everything winds up in the migrant traps. This morning, for example, there were a lot of Yellow Warblers singing in the trees near the Black Swamp Bird Observatory itself, just north of Route 2 at the entrance to Magee Marsh, and almost none up in the vicinity of the Magee boardwalk. Apparently the local summer-resident males come in and set up their territories before we start to see transients that are passing through going farther north -- so the species can be common a mile south of the lake shore before the first migrants show up near the beach.

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