Thursday, May 14, 2009

Update: migration May 14-16

With the rough weather that prevailed this morning, I was sweating my prediction that the birding would be good today, wondering if the migrants had made it through. But they had: the birding was spectacular at Magee Marsh and other nearby areas. From what I saw or heard about, there were at least 27 warbler species in the area. But of course, the number of species doesn’t tell the whole story; what was more impressive was the number of individuals, the excellent overall variety (that is, there was no single species that dominated -- we saw lots of most species), and the fact that the warblers were foraging very low along the north edge of the woods at Magee, probably to be out of the strong southwest winds. Many species qualified as common today: Bay-breasted, Cape May, Black-throated Blue, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Am. Redstart, Ovenbird, etc., while some earlier migrants like Black-throated Green were in reduced numbers but still easy to find. The sheer visibility of these warblers is amazing to people who visit for the first time -- or even for some of us who have been here a lot. This would be hard to prove, but I’d be willing to bet that more than 30,000 warbler photos were taken at Magee today.

The winds are now shifting to west-northwest, and by morning (Friday morning, May 15) they’re supposed to be more north-northwest. Probably there won’t be nearly as much bird movement tonight as there was last night. I assume that there will be somewhat fewer birds in the lakeshore migrant traps on Friday, but even with reduced numbers it should still be good birding. Friday night the winds are supposed to go to the south again, so probably we’ll have another big influx on Saturday morning, the 16th, undoubtedly with a fair amount of turnover.

Near the east end of the boardwalk this morning was the first (that I’ve heard of) Connecticut Warbler for the season. If you’re keen to see the species, though, don’t worry about rushing over to try to find this individual; the peak migration for this species typically is later, closer to May 25, so your best chance would be late in the month.

1 comment:

Chris Bowers said...

Thanks, these predictions are very helpful. We are trying to decide whether Saturday or Sunday will be the better day to visit and any updates will be greatly appreciated.

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