Sunday, April 8, 2018

April 11 to 15: More Migrants Incoming

The first major wave of Yellow-rumped Warblers should arrive in woodlots of northwestern Ohio within the next few days. Photo by Kenn Kaufman.

April 8, 2018: After a month of cool temperatures and relatively few days with south winds, some aspects of spring migration seem a little behind schedule in northwestern Ohio. As a result, large numbers of migrants are probably held up to the south of us, so we can expect to see substantial movements of birds whenever conditions improve. For example, winds shifted to the south and southwest on March 31, and a huge flight of Turkey Vultures moved through the region that day. 

Waterfowl migration peaked in March as expected. The thousands of Tundra Swans that passed through are now mostly gone, and numbers of most ducks are decreasing now, although a good variety of species will be around for another couple of weeks. Good numbers of Tree Swallows, Great Egrets, and American Coots have returned to area marshes.

In the woodlots near Lake Erie, we're seeing the songbird migrants expected at the beginning of April: Golden-crowned Kinglet, Winter Wren, Hermit Thrush, Brown Creeper, Fox Sparrow, Rusty Blackbird, and others. They're around in modest numbers so far, but things are likely to pick up soon. 

If current weather forecasts don't change too much, we should see a major arrival of migrants beginning Wednesday or Thursday. There's some uncertainty caused by a small low-pressure area that may move either north of here or right through here on Thursday, but overall, we're predicted to have warmer temperatures and southerly winds from Wednesday April 11 through Sunday April 15. If I had to guess right now I would say that Wednesday and Friday might have the best daytime movements (of Turkey Vultures, raptors, and others) while Thursday and Saturday may be better for numbers of nocturnal migrant songbirds that have arrived overnight. Of course, weather predictions at this season are notoriously changeable. But any time during the latter half of the week should offer a chance to see early migrants.

So far, only a few Yellow-rumped Warblers have arrived. There should be many more by late this week, along with Palm Warbler, and possibly a few others like Black-and-white Warbler and Pine Warbler. This is a good time to look for southern species "overshooting" their ranges, so Louisiana Waterthrush and Yellow-throated Warbler may show up at hotspots near the lake. 

Speaking of hotspots - many visiting birders gravitate to the boardwalk at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, and of course that's a wonderful place, but it's just one of many superb birding sites in the region. Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, right next door to Magee, can be spectacularly good, and the same is true for other spots such as Maumee Bay State Park, Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area, East Harbor State Park, Sheldon Marsh State Nature Reserve, and others. For ideas and directions on local birding, see this link on the Black Swamp Bird Observatory website. 


1 comment:

Dave Lewis said...

Hot dog! Warblies!

 
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