Friday, May 11, 2018

Update: Changing forecast and migration outlook May 12 - 16

A female Bay-breasted Warbler pauses along the Estuary Trail at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Ohio. Photo by Kenn Kaufman. 

Friday May 11, 2018: Three days ago, based on the weather forecast at the time, we predicted that tomorrow (Saturday the 12th) could see a major arrival of migrants. The weather pattern has changed since then. Tonight (Friday night) there will still be strong winds from the south, all the way from the Gulf of Mexico to the Midwest, but apparently they won't reach northern Ohio. A high-pressure area over southern Ontario will block that system, so here along the Lake Erie shoreline, we're supposed to get cool temperatures, east-northeast winds, and probably scattered thunderstorms during the night. Saturday and Sunday will continue to be relatively cool, with northeasterly winds and probably with scattered thunderstorms on Saturday. 

What does that mean for birding? While we probably won't see many new birds arriving, most of the migrants that are here now should stick around. Excellent numbers and variety of warblers and other migrants have been seen in all the usual spots along and near Lake Erie during the last couple of days, and that good birding continued this morning. When we get a cold spell in mid-May, it usually brings many migrants down to forage at lower levels, since fewer insects are active in the treetops in the chilly breeze. Under these conditions, photography can be excellent. But be sure to carry good waterproof covering for your camera gear in case of sudden downpours. 

When migrants are grounded here by northerly winds, the best strategy for birders is to check multiple spots instead of continuing to work the same areas. During their stopovers, some migrants move around but others stay in the same spot for several days, so it's good to visit more different places to find different individuals. At this link you can find directions to many excellent birding sites. 

A slow migration day might be the perfect time to visit the Oak Openings area, a short distance away on the west side of Toledo. Lark Sparrow, Blue Grosbeak, Red-headed Woodpecker, and Henslow's Sparrow are being seen near the south end of Girdham Road, and Red Crossbills are in the pines near the Lodge at the south end of Wilkins Road; see this map for directions. 

Looking ahead: The winds are supposed to shift to southeasterly sometime Sunday night, and depending on when that happens, we could see some turnover on Monday, the 14th. Tuesday May 15 and especially Wednesday May 16 should produce more new birds after southwesterly winds overnight. At the moment it doesn't appear that these will be huge flight days, just fairly good ones; but as we've seen, weather forecasts can change quickly! We should at least start to see better numbers of flycatchers and of typical late migrants like Canada Warbler and Red-eyed Vireo. 




3 comments:

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World of Animals, Inc said...

This Bay-breasted Warbler is such a stunning looking bird, I love the photo that you were able to capture of this bird. Thanks for the share, hope you had a fantastic weekend. Keep up the posts.

World of Animals

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