Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Update: Migration Outlook May 18-23

Magnolia Warbler at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Ohio, May 17, 2011. photo/Kenn Kaufman.
 For the last three days (Sunday through Tuesday, May 15-17), migration has been shut down by cold temperatures, rain, and strong northerly winds. This hasn’t stopped the birding – in fact, the birding has been spectacularly good in some ways. In my post yesterday I mentioned that the warblers and other migrants were foraging very low and very close to the boardwalk and trails. This pattern continued through Tuesday, with the views of warblers being almost ridiculously good. As expected during this early part of the Second Wave, Magnolia Warblers and Chestnut-sided Warblers were especially abundant, but more than 20 warbler species were present. Many individuals were foraging literally within two or three feet of astonished birders along the Magee Marsh boardwalk, and views were also excellent along the trails behind the Ottawa NWR visitors’ center.

The Magee Marsh boardwalk isn't just for humans! Chestnut-sided Warbler at minimum-focus range, May 17, 2011.  photo/Kenn Kaufman.
 With cold north wind continuing tonight, this bonanza of low-foraging warblers will probably continue through Wednesday morning (May 18), but temperatures are supposed to finally start rising on Wednesday. As it warms up, tiny insects should be a little more active and small songbirds should be less cold-stressed, so viewing along the boardwalk should return to its normal state (excellent but not absurdly close).

The weather forecast for the next few days has changed a little. They’re now predicting that winds will swing around to the southeast and even south in the predawn hours of Thursday, May 19, and stay southerly for part of Thursday before swinging back to the east and then to the northeast. Thursday and Friday will also be warmer, and I expect we’ll see some turnover in the local migrants, with some of the current crop leaving and a few coming in on those days. Looking farther ahead, predictions are firming up for the wind to go strongly to the south on Saturday night. In that case, as mentioned before, Sunday May 22 and Monday May 23 should produce another big push of migrants, with a good variety of late-season warblers, probably a few more Connecticut Warblers, lots of flycatchers and vireos, and hopefully we’ll finally get our Kirtland’s Warbler for the season!

Short prediction: More extreme closeups of warblers on the morning of Wednesday May 18; some turnover and somewhat reduced numbers on Thursday May 19 through Saturday May 21, but warmer with more sunshine on Friday and Saturday, for more pleasant birding weather; another big arrival of migrants on Sunday May 22 and/or Monday May 23 (probably both days).

1 comment:

Paul Kusmin said...

Hi Kenn, i'm sitting here in Vancouver Canada checking your updates on a daily basis and drooling at the chance to see some of the eastern warblers, will be flying in on Saturday morning and will likely be hitting up Magee Marsh on a daily basis until Wednesday.
Here's hoping some of the migrants wait until i'm there, can't wait!

Paul Kusmin

Nature Blog Network