Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Migration update May 7 - 9

As usual, the weather forecast continues to change slightly, and with it the outlook for the next big arrival of migrants. There are probably a lot of birds arriving here within the next few days, but it’s still hard to pinpoint when they’ll get here.

Of course, a lot of migrants are here already. In the lakeshore migrant traps there are hundreds of warblers of at least a couple of dozen species, and there are also many migrants scattered through the wooded patches well south of the lake. Some birds (such as White-crowned Sparrow and Rose-breasted Grosbeak) seem to be more common away from the lakeshore at the moment. But it’s clear that the second major wave has not come in yet. "Early" warblers such as Yellow-rumped, Palm, Black-throated Green, Nashville, etc., are still dominant, and the huge influx of Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, Bay-breasted, and other "mid-season" warblers has not arrived in force.

The current weather prediction (Wednesday May 6, mid-afternoon) suggests that the current southerly winds will shift to northeast tonight as a minor low-pressure area passes, and then shift back to the southwest after midnight. After that, the winds are supposed to have a strong southwesterly component through Thursday and Friday, May 7 and 8, before swinging back around to the northwest sometime Saturday morning.

On the basis of the wind patterns, there should be migrants arriving the next three mornings, Thursday through Saturday, May 7 - 9. Because of the shifting winds tonight and the amount of rain to the south of us, I don’t think that Thursday will be the big arrival. What shows up on Friday and Saturday will be partly dependent on the amount of rain in our area and to the south of us -- the forecast is for scattered showers, but a lot depends on just where those showers fall, and when. Still, it looks like there’s a good chance for a major influx of migrants on Friday and Saturday.

Additional notes: Phil Chaon found a calling King Rail at Mallard Club Marsh Wildlife Area (east of Maumee Bay State Park). The species has been present at this location the last couple of years also. American Golden-Plovers have been seen several times recently at the northwest end of Ottawa NWR (on unit MS 2, visible from the east end of Veler Road).

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