Friday, April 23, 2010

Weekend of April 24 at Magee

In the migrant traps at Magee Marsh W.A., Ottawa NWR, and other points along the Lake Erie shoreline, the floodgates of migration have not opened yet. Following some unseasonably warm weather in early April, things have slowed down, and the arrival of migrants is now about average or a little late.

In 2009, April 24 was the first really big day for arrival of neotropical migrants, with good numbers of warblers, vireos, and a few Scarlet Tanagers and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks at the Magee boardwalk and elsewhere in the area. Based on what's around right now, and on weather predictions for the next few days, that won't be repeated this year. Migrants in the woods at Magee are dominated now by Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Hermit Thrushes, and others of the moderately-early bunch. There are Myrtle (Yellow-rumped) Warblers present, but not in huge numbers yet, and a few Pine Warblers. A few Rusty Blackbirds and Winter Wrens are still in the woods. So there are some birds to see, but the big rush of spring migrants has not arrived, and probably won't arrive until after this weekend. The good news is that the vast majority of those birds are still to the south of us, and the best is yet to come!

The weather forecasts going forward are uncertain enough that I don't want to make strong predictions, but purely on the basis of the current ten-day forecast, the first really big day for lots of warblers might turn out to be Thursday April 29 or Friday April 30. But I'll be watching the weather forecasts closely and will probably revise that thought closer to the time.

At any rate, at this time of year it's worthwhile to get out any time if you can. Some days have more birds than others, but there's no such thing as a bad spring day.

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