Thursday, April 16, 2009

Update predictions for April 17-19

Despite the lack of favorable winds, there have been some more arrivals this week. On Wednesday the 15th, Kim Kaufman noted an influx of Hermit Thrushes and Eastern Towhees at Magee Marsh W.A., and I saw my first good-sized flock of Dunlins for the year on unit MS 2 North at Ottawa NWR (east end of Veler Rd.).

A couple of states to the west of us, in the Mississippi Valley, there has been a very strong southerly air flow for the last couple of days, with major numbers of birds moving north. It now appears that a diminished version of this same pattern will reach us by late Friday afternoon, the 17th, and I expect a good arrival of migrants overnight, so that Saturday morning the 18th could be quite good. Saturday is supposed to be quite warm (possibly up to 70 and mostly sunny), so it could be a fine day to be outside, and we could have a significant arrival of Yellow-rumped Warblers and other migrants that currently seem a bit overdue. There also might be a moderate hawk flight during the day if the west-southwest winds hold. Sunday is predicted to be not as warm and possibly rainy, but there should still be good numbers of birds around.

On Saturday, the auto tour at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge will be open from 9 to 4. Please note that we now have a set of birding maps available for the refuge; go to our main birding page and follow the link for "Birding Hotspots: Directions and Maps." There are actually three maps available there for free downloading: one giving an overview of the refuge, one focusing on the auto tour in the central and western parts of the refuge, and one giving a closeup of the walking trails that are open every day in the eastern section and near the Visitors' Center. Each of these maps has a page of additional notes, so you may want to print map and notes as a two-sided document. Major thanks to the refuge staff, especially Rebecca Hinkle and Ron Huffman, for providing me with a lot of information while I was drawing these maps. Any errors are my doing; please leave a comment if you have any problems with the maps.

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