Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Migration outlook April 25-29

April 25: After several days of strong northerly or westerly winds, the wind is now lighter and coming from the south.  This region of Ohio has not seen a big arrival of migrants since last Friday, but this wind shift should allow some new birds to come in.  At the moment, the forecast is for the winds to continue more or less southerly through Wednesday night, so I expect a moderate number of new arrivals to be in the area on Thursday morning, April 26.  After that the wind is expected to go northerly again, at least through the weekend.  After tonight, on the basis of current weather forecasts, I don't expect any major waves of migrants to arrive until sometime next week. 

One thing to consider: the more the migration is held back, the bigger the flight when the wind finally shifts.  On the basis of current weather forecasts, next Wednesday, May 2, MIGHT produce a very big arrival here.  But of course the weather forecast could change many times in the next week!  I will keep an eye on the changing conditions and will post updated predictions in a few days.

Advice for those coming to bird the Magee / Ottawa region -- always consider wind direction when choosing where to look.  Most people have a tendency to go to the Magee boardwalk first.  But when the wind is strong out of the north, as it has been on some days recently, migrant birds may shift to more sheltered woodlots back away from the Lake Erie shoreline.  Larger patches of woods such as those at East Harbor State Park, behind the visitors' center at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, or farther west at Pearson Park (on Rt. 2 in Oregon, just east of Toledo) may hold more migrants when the lakeshore spots are blasted by north winds. 

Summary: Right now I expect more migrants to arrive Thursday morning, April 26 -- probably not a huge flight, but with enough variety to keep us going through the weekend.  Look for the next really major flight to arrive sometime around May 1, 2, or 3. 

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