Monday, May 11, 2009

Migration forecast May 12 - 16

In the migrant traps near the Lake Erie shoreline, the fine birding continued through today (Monday, May 11), with very large numbers and excellent variety of warblers and other migrants present. Despite the lack of favorable winds for migration, there was some turnover evident; for example, on Monday there seemed to be more Northern Parulas and fewer Blackpoll Warblers than there had been on Sunday in the area of Magee Marsh. But the birders on the boardwalk continued to be thrilled with extreme closeup views of warblers and other choice migrants.

In terms of weather, the week ahead looks like an active one, and the forecasts keep changing to some extent. On the basis of current forecasts, it appears we’ll have a strong air flow from the south both Tuesday and Wednesday nights. There could be a very good arrival of migrants near the lake shore on the morning of Wednesday, May 13 (and a lot of the migrants that are here currently will probably be gone that morning as well). There could be an even better fallout of migrants on Thursday morning, or it could be a bust. What makes this hard to predict is the question of what’s going to happen with major rain storms that could move through the area. They could hold the migrants back, or they could put them down right on top of us. This is just a guess, but I think the rains could be positioned right to produce a good fallout not only here, but across the lake from us at Point Pelee, on Thursday.

Looking farther ahead, the forecast is for the wind to go back to the north with the passage of a minor cold front on Thursday night, so Friday may not produce a lot of migrants. But the wind is supposed to go back to the south on Friday and through Friday night, and another good influx of migrants should come in Saturday morning, May 16. There are likely to be scattered showers on Saturday, but the birding should be good anyway for those Toledo Naturalists’ Association members taking part in the North Coast Open, and for Ohio Ornithological Society members attending the conference in Perrysburg.

A few notes for birders visiting the Magee boardwalk in the near future: a couple of pairs of Prothonotary Warblers seem to be on territory along the boardwalk, with a very obliging male singing close to the boardwalk around number 3. Also, there are still a few Rusty Blackbirds present. That species passes through this area in large numbers in late March and early April, so most are gone by now, but a couple have been foraging in shallow water near number 7A and near number 13. On Sunday, several birders passed these off as Common Grackles at first. Certainly there are plenty of grackles around, but if you see a lone individual foraging in shallow water, it’s worth a second look. Also, if you go out the spur of the boardwalk near number 10, listen for the low hooting chuckling note of Least Bittern out in the marsh there.

For numbers on the boardwalk, see our map available through the main birding page (follow the links for "birding hotspots: maps and directions").

No comments:

Nature Blog Network