Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 22 report, May 23-24 outlook

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher on trail behind Black Swamp Bird Observatory, May 22, 2011. photo/Kenn Kaufman.

Sunday May 22: As predicted, today produced a fair arrival of birds in the area of Magee Marsh / Ottawa NWR. Numbers were definitely higher than on the preceding two days, although down from the big numbers on Thursday May 19; diversity was decent, and typical of this date in the latter one-third of May.

Most noticeable today was an influx of flycatchers. An Olive-sided Flycatcher entertained birders for most of the day on the Magee boardwalk in the area of number 23b. For the first time this season, Alder and Yellow-bellied flycatchers were around in substantial numbers, and Least Flycatchers (common throughout May) and Willow Flycatchers (which nest locally) were also numerous. Eastern Wood-Pewees were widespread, including in areas where they won't nest, so we were seeing many migrants.

On the warbler front, Mourning Warblers were widespread, but I didn't hear of any definite Connecticut Warblers today. A few of us made specific searches for both Connecticut and Kirtland's, and came up dry. But there were excellent numbers of Magnolia (still), Canada, Wilson's, and Yellow warblers (both residents and migrants of the latter), good numbers of Blackpoll and Tennessee warblers and American Redstarts, and a good scattering of other species; I was aware of at least 18 warbler species seen locally today.

On the east beach (wildlife beach) at Magee, Jeri Langham found a Yellow-breasted Chat, and I and others saw it later in the morning. Other oddities out there included a Red-breasted Nuthatch and a Purple Finch, both of which seemed out of place with today's hot temperatures. Both Yellow-billed and Black-billed cuckoos were seen at various places, including the Magee boardwalk and Magee east beach.

As of late evening Sunday, winds are fairly strong out of the south, and it looks likely that a lot of birds will move tonight.  Showers and thunderstorms are moving into the area, and depending on the timing, they could put down a lot of migrants here. I think that tomorrow (Monday May 23) will produce good numbers of birds in the lakeshore migrant traps in n.w. Ohio; depending on the distribution and timing of rains overnight, it could be a fairly average day or a very good day.

Winds are supposed to continue southerly or southwesterly through Monday and Monday night, and I expect that a lot of birds will be riding that train, including both birds arriving here from the south and local stopover birds leaving, so we should see a significant amount of turnover both Monday and Tuesday mornings.  Sometime on Tuesday May 24, the wind is supposed to shift around toward the north, with slightly cooler temperatures; so anything that's around on Tuesday morning may stay for a while.

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