Monday, March 16, 2009

Migrants coming: Raptors 3/17, others 3/18

This morning (Monday March 16), just back from Idaho, I was looking at weather maps before heading out to check on today's birds, and it appears that the next two days should be good in northwest Ohio.

Right now the winds are light out of the northeast, but they should swing around to the south by about 2 a.m. tonight. If the prediction holds, by morning the winds will be light out of the south and should gradually increase during the day, shifting to south-southwest by afternoon. These conditions should create a fair hawk flight along the Lake Erie shoreline in the first part of the afternoon on Tuesday, March 17. It's supposed to warm up to the 60s as well, so it won't be the frigid experience that sometimes accompanies March hawkwatching in this region! A couple of good sites for observing migrating raptors would be the observation tower ("hawk watch tower") near the Sportsmen's Migratory Bird Center at Magee Marsh, and the "sledding hill" near the beach at Maumee Bay State Park.

Winds should continue to have a strong southerly component through the night Tuesday night, which should favor movement by nocturnal migrants. The current prediction is for scattered showers on the morning of Wednesday March 18, but anyone who gets out between showers should see a good arrival of early landbird migrants. These could include numbers of Rusty Blackbirds, Fox Sparrows and other sparrows, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Hermit Thrushes, and perhaps a few surprises. Waterfowl migration is in full force now, so even if the other migrant arrivals fail to materialize, there will be flocks of ducks, geese, and swans to enjoy.

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