Monday, September 7, 2009

Migration prediction, Sept. 8 to 12

Over the Labor Day weekend that just ended, numbers of songbird migrants were fairly low in the woodlots along the Lake Erie shoreline. Most of the expected species were around, but it took some digging to find them.

Looking at the weather predictions for the next few days (Tuesday through Saturday, Sept. 8 to 12), I don’t expect any major arrival of warblers and other songbirds before the weekend. A few will probably slip in between rain showers overnight Monday night and probably a few more Tuesday night, on east-northeast winds, so there may be modest turnover and fair variety in the migrant traps on Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 8 - 9. After that, the winds are supposed to be strong out of the east and southeast for several days and nights, not good conditions for bringing in more migrants. Determined birders still will be able to find a decent variety but not without some effort.

I don’t have a lot of faith in the weather predictions beyond Saturday, and things may change before then anyway, but the current forecast is for winds to stay mostly east or southeast through the middle of next week. If that happened and then the winds switched to northwest, there COULD be a huge influx of migrants around September 17th -- just in time for the Midwest Birding Symposium. That would be a sweet deal for all the visiting birders.

Of course, there’s a good chance that the weather forecast will change, as it often does! But we’ll be watching the weather maps closely to try to predict when the next big arrival of migrants will be. In the meantime, remember that there are great possibilities for birds here even on a "slow" day, so it’s always worthwhile to get out and look around.

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