Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Next pushes of migrants expected: Wednesday and next weekend

Tuesday, May 14:  As predicted, today turned out to be a good day for migrants in n.w. Ohio.  The star of the day, without a doubt, was the Kirtland's Warbler found on the East Beach (Wildlife Beach) at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, seen by many people through most of the day.  Diversity of warblers continued to be good elsewhere in the area as well, along with improved numbers of thrushes, vireos, and others.  

At this point (late evening on Tuesday), all indications are that there's a major movement of birds going on.  The radar picture shows huge numbers migrating over southwestern Ohio, and many of these birds will reach the Lake Erie shoreline by dawn, aided by fairly strong southerly winds.  So Wednesday, May 15, should be an excellent day in any migrant traps in northwestern Ohio.  We'll probably see a lot of turnover, with many birds departing as well as birds arriving, so total numbers may not be strikingly higher, but the mix of birds present should be clearly different from today's.  

After Wednesday morning, the forecast is for the winds to be much more variable for a couple of days, and I don't expect a lot of arriving migrants on Thursday or Friday.  But things could improve on Saturday, May 18, and especially on Sunday and Monday, May 19 & 20, with major weather systems bringing in a strong flow of air from far to the south.  

By Sunday, the composition of the migrant flocks near the lake shore should be noticeably different from what we've seen the last few days.  Numbers of Yellow-rumped, Palm, Nashville, and Black-and-white Warblers should drop. At the same time, we should see a pickup in numbers of Magnolia, Blackpoll, Canada, and Wilson's Warblers, plus Swainson's and Gray-cheeked Thrushes, Red-eyed and Philadelphia Vireos, and several of the flycatchers.  By this weekend we'll also have a reasonable chance of finding Connecticut Warbler, a late-May specialty, although the following weekend is closer to its peak dates.  So there are still plenty of reasons to go birding!

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