Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Migration forecast April 30 - May 3

The spectacular arrival of spring migrants that kicked into high gear last Friday, April 24, has filled all the local woods and fields and marshes with a rich variety of birds. There is daily turnover now, but the shift to cooler temperatures and rain means that many of the birds are lingering, and not just in the migrant traps along the lake shore: there are also a lot of migrants in woodlots several miles away from the lake. So birders in northwest Ohio who have time to get out just briefly (for example, over lunch hour or after work) during the next couple of days may find it worthwhile to spend that time checking out their local habitat patch rather than making a long drive to the lake shore.

Current weather predictions call for some rain on Thursday April 30 and Friday May 1, but there will be some air flow from the south during that time, so some migrants will probably continue to slip between the storms and move into the area. On Friday night, according to current predictions, a low pressure area will have passed by us to the north and the wind will shift to the northwest, so birds that are in the area late in the week will probably stay for the weekend. The numbers may not be huge but they should be fairly impressive, and there’s a lot of variety, with well over two dozen species of warblers present at the moment. The best bet for seeing a good mix of species this weekend would be to check a number of different spots -- in other words, don’t just go to the boardwalk, think about looking at other wooded areas such as the ones farther south on the Magee entrance road, the woods at Ottawa Nat’l Wildlife Refuge, end of the road at Metzger Marsh, woods at Maumee Bay State Park and East Harbor State Park, and so on. See our page on "Birding Hotspots: directions and maps" for information on these spots.

During this coming weekend, with clearer weather and a fairly strong wind flow out of the west, we might pick up some more individuals of some of the migrant species that tend to pass through to the west of here in spring, like more American Avocets, Black-necked Stilts, Hudsonian and Marbled Godwits, Franklin’s Gulls, Clay-colored Sparrows, et cetera. Most of those have been found in the area already this spring, but we may see more. At any rate, this weekend has great potential for numbers and variety of birds, and maybe some surprises.

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