Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday update: beyond expectations

Update, Monday April 30: Last night I predicted that we wouldn't see many new migrants locally until Wednesday, based on detailed weather forecasts.  But this morning, there is a substantial arrival of new migrants. Ethan Kistler reports that there are at least 9 warbler species around BSBO (still mostly Yellow-rumps, but with a scatter of others including Blue-winged, Pine, and Northern Waterthrush).  Baltimore and Orchard orioles and Rose-breasted Grosbeak are around in numbers, and all three of those mid-sized songbirds are also present at the Magee boardwalk and elsewhere in the area.

What's the story? Winds at ground level were not favorable for migration last night, at least not in the local area, but the radar picture showed that some birds were definitely moving in areas to the south of us. Mid-sized songbirds like orioles, already present in good numbers just a little farther south, may have pushed on through without the help of favorable winds - or winds aloft may have been different from those at ground level.  Rain showers came through here from the west very early in the morning, and they may have knocked down some migrating birds locally also. 

Whatever the reasons, the birding today is better than anyone here had expected.  I still think that Wednesday and Thursday this week will bring bigger flights (see the post below this one), but if you have the chance to get out before then, there's no reason to wait for the "big" day.  The weather and the birds both have endless capacity to surprise us and to foil our predictions!

1 comment:

Drew Weber said...

Exact same experience in central Pennsylvania. The conditions weren't great but I think we are reaching that point where birds need to migrate even in less than ideal conditions if they are going to get back to defend a good territory. Next couple nights could be very interesting with the possibility of showers along with south winds.

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