Thursday, April 8, 2010

Early migrants in good numbers

Large numbers of waterfowl moved through northwest Ohio in March this year, as expected, but the big concentrations seemed not to last as long as usual. As of now, April 7th, there appear to be fewer ducks, geese, and swans in the area than there sometimes would be on this date. The variety present is still excellent; all the expected species seem to be here, just not in the numbers that we might have seen in other years. I think this is largely a function this season’s weather. After the cold and snowy conditions of February, things warmed up very rapidly. Waterfowl tend to be opportunistic in their spring migration, moving north as soon as conditions are favorable, so the big push of ducks moved through our area more rapidly than usual. With a check of the Lake Erie shoreline and area marshes, however, it’s still easy to find hundreds of individuals and more than a dozen species, and this should hold true for the next couple of weeks at least.

The land bird migrants expected in early April are around in good numbers. In wooded areas near the lake shore, specialties of this week include Hermit Thrush, Fox Sparrow, and Rusty Blackbird. There are also good numbers of Golden-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Brown Creeper, Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler, and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. At least two Louisiana Waterthrushes have been seen recently at the Magee Marsh boardwalk. Louisiana Waterthrush is generally scarce this far north, but any waterthrush seen in the first half of April is almost certain to be of this species; large numbers of Northern Waterthrushes migrate through here in May, but the first ones don’t show up until around April 20.

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