Monday, May 14, 2012

Migration outlook May 14-20

May 14, midday:  Birders who have visited NW Ohio for the first time this spring have raved about the fine birding here.  They might be surprised to learn that the numbers actually have been below average; the typical year is better than this!  Weather conditions have not set up to deliver a really massive flight of birds yet.  Of course, the Magee region is not dependent on "fallout" conditions; good numbers and variety of migrants will concentrate along the lake shore all spring, regardless of the weather.  But a season like this one makes it hard to predict the best days. 

The last few days have produced fair numbers and excellent variety of migrants, highlighted by at least three Kirtland's Warblers, two of which were seen by large numbers of birders.  With light northerly winds now and no major weather systems nearby, I expect numbers to drop off a little during the next couple of days.  But by Thursday, the 17th, we'll start to see development of a good flow of air out of the south, and I expect to see a big influx of migrants toward the end of the week.  Friday and Saturday, the 18th and 19th, might be moderately big days. 

The species composition of migrants over the weekend suggested that there are still many migrants yet to arrive.  Whether or not they have any days of huge concentrations, there are still major numbers of second-wave migrants that have to come through (or over) the region.  So birding should continue to produce a lot of variety for the next couple of weeks, even on days when the sheer numbers are not stellar. 

I haven't heard of any Connecticut Warblers yet at the Magee boardwalk, but BSBO's main research site a few miles farther east had a couple today, so they should be found at the boardwalk soon.  With a push of migrants coming in, I would be surprised if Connecticuts were not found next weekend at Magee.  Their peak passage is during the third and fourth weeks of May.  Other late-season migrants that haven't shown up in numbers yet include Mourning and Canada warblers, Red-eyed Vireos, Gray-cheeked Thrushes, and Yellow-bellied and Alder flycatchers.  So the parade is far from over. 

Summary:  At this time of year, if you can go birding every day, do it!  But if you have to pick and choose, next Friday and Saturday (May 18-19) might produce more birds than Tuesday or Wednesday (May 15-16). Thursday is a toss-up at this point, but I'll try to post more after I study the weather maps some more.


Kristina said...

Friday and Saturday... perfect! That's when I will be up at BSBO! :) I can't wait. I've seen on Connecticut warbler in my life, and that was September of 2010... I was barely a birder then and I didn't get a satisfying look.
And Canada warblers are some of my favourites, I want to see more of them!

Plus, I was watching my local pair of Wood Thrushes forage and sing this afternoon, but I'd love to see Grey-cheeked Thrush. I don't believe I've ever seen one.

Chris Bowers said...

Thanks, being 90 minutes away I always appreciate your predictions.

Care to hazard a guess on the number of photos taken of the Kirtland's which was posing on IMBD?

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