Thursday, March 28, 2013

Weekend Forecast: March 29-31 should be very good

Thursday night, March 28:  Easter weekend is shaping up to be very good in northwestern Ohio.  Late this evening, the national radar picture showed a large movement of birds in southwestern Ohio, and we can expect many of those birds to arrive in northwestern Ohio over the next three days.  

Winds are variable at the moment and will shift around during the day and night Friday, with winds mostly coming from the north, but they should switch to southerly by sometime Saturday morning and should stay that way through much of Sunday.  On Saturday, with clear skies and warmer temperatures (low 50s) forecast, southerly winds could produce an excellent hawk flight near the Lake Erie shoreline.  Turkey Vultures are likely to be the main species, but there should also be numbers of Red-shouldered, Red-tailed, and Cooper's hawks, Bald Eagles, and a chance for scarcer species such as Merlin or even Golden Eagle.  

Among the smaller birds, some typical early season migrants such as Rusty Blackbird, Fox Sparrow, and Winter Wren should increase in numbers.  To a lesser extent, we should also see an influx of birds like Hermit Thrush, Eastern Towhee, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Purple Finch, and Golden-crowned Kinglet.  The timing of their arrival is hard to predict, but based on current weather forecasts, there could be a big arrival overnight Saturday night.  Sunday the 31st shows at least a 50 percent chance of rain, but in between showers, there could be a lot of birds to enjoy.  

Very large numbers of ducks are still in the area, both on inland marshes and on Lake Erie.  Some of these may begin to depart this weekend, but enough will still be around to add to the mix of what should be a very satisfying weekend.  

And, of course, this is a good time of year for rarities to start showing up.  Just to the east of our main area, at the Huron River mouth, Dave Clark found an Eared Grebe earlier this week, and it was apparently still present today.  In adjacent states, an amazing 40-plus Little Gulls have been at Presque Isle in northwestern Pennsylvania, and an equally amazing Spotted Redshank was found today at Goose Pond, Indiana.  Clearly, anything is possible!  If you find anything rare this weekend, please let the people at Black Swamp Bird Observatory know about it.  

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