Tuesday, May 7, 2019

May 7 Update

A male Kirtland's Warbler pauses at a private residence at Curtice, Ohio, near Howard Marsh Metropark, on May 6, 2019. Photo: Jeff Bouton.


Tuesday, May 7: Ryan Jacob writes: As predicted, a new shift of winds to the south Sunday night produced some new arrivals Monday morning, May 6. It was a tough call to gauge how large of a push of second wave migrants would occur, but as suspected, diversity definitely increased with only a mild rise in numbers. While southerly winds were definitely beneficial for nocturnal movement, much of this air was also mixed with cold northerly air around the lakeshore region. Regardless, the marshes were alive with great new arrivals!

Before we delve into these arrivals and departures, probably the greatest sighting yesterday was of not one, but TWO Kirtland’s Warblers; one on the Estuary Trail at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge (accessed from the west end of the parking lot at the Magee Marsh boardwalk) and another at a private residence near Howard Marsh (in addition to at least three other birds reported in the region recently). At this point, more Kirtland’s have been seen in the region than Bay-breasted Warbler! This has been not only a great opportunity for birders to see this chunky, jack-pine-loving warbler, but is a great correlation to the repopulation success of the species, and an indicator of the importance of lakeshore habitat.

As stated, Sunday’s wind did not bring in a massive number of birds, but there were new arrivals. Black-throated Green Warbler, Nashville, Ovenbird, Cape May, and Black-and-white have become more prevalent, as well as additions of American Redstart, Chestnut-sided Warbler, and Blackpoll. Surprisingly, new thrush arrival was not evident from field observations or from Black Swamp Bird Observatory’s research station. But, Gray Catbirds experienced a good surge, as well as a slight uptick in Lincoln’s and White-crowned Sparrow, Scarlet Tanager, and Red-eyed, Warbling, and Blue-headed Vireo.

Recent arrivals from last week and over the weekend – particularly Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Baltimore Oriole – that were quite numerous, all but disappeared going into Monday, with a lesser number appearing again today, Tuesday, May 7. Slowly dwindling down to single digit sightings, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Palm and Yellow-rumped Warbler, Hermit Thrush, and White-throated Sparrow have nearly all departed and this week could be the last we see of these species until fall.

Looking ahead: As forecast and suspected a few days ago, Thursday, May 9, still appears that it will see a new and large influx of birds. With a line of low pressure systems along the central US, warm southerly winds will be headed along the Mississippi River through Ohio Wednesday night into Thursday. Of course, with a low pressure system, rain and clouds are sure to come with this new air. Wind speeds are expected to be moderate with areas in southern Ohio experiencing a low of only 70 degrees – making for good flying conditions – and rain is not predicted to come until right around sunrise. If this timing stays the same, rain could force arriving (and departing) birds to hunker down in the lakeshore marshes rather than attempting to cross the lake. While rain is expected throughout the rest of the day, any break in the precipitation will be a great opportunity to get out and start searching the local hotspots.

Being that weather is weather, and can always change, an alternative day or even possibly an extension of this Thursday push can be expected for Friday, May 10, as well, with continued southwest winds overnight and a low in the mid 60’s. If the forecast remains the same, the afternoon of Friday will clear up, allowing for sunshine to appear and heighten bird activity as they chase down insect prey.

Continuing along with Monday’s arrivals, we can expect to see more warblers and variety including Magnolia Warbler and Nashville; as well as Baltimore Oriole, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Swainson’s Thrush, and Veery. While we’re still too early for the arrival of most flycatchers, we can expect to see more Great Crested Flycatcher and Least Flycatcher, wheeping and chebeking amongst the warbler songs. 

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