Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Update May 2, Outlook May 3-6

Things are looking up: this Prairie Warbler was enjoyed by scores of birders today (dozens of whom undoubtedly got better photos than this) at Magee Marsh. Photo by Kenn Kaufman.

May 2:  Today the Magee Marsh area had only fair numbers of migrants, but very good diversity.  I was out at dawn at Magee and numbers were very low at first, as often happens, but things picked up considerably by 8:00.  Numbers of Yellow-rumped Warblers were down from yesterday, numbers of Yellow Warblers and White-crowned Sparrows were way up, and there were good numbers of Tennessee, Nashville, and Black-throated Green warblers, the first serious arrival of Magnolia Warblers, plus others including Blackburnian, Cape May, and Blue-winged. Orioles were conspicuously common, many Eastern Kingbirds and hundreds of Blue Jays were on the move, and a few Bobolinks came over along the lake shore. A very cooperative Prairie Warbler was enjoyed by dozens of birders for an extended period near the east end of the boardwalk.  Between Magee Marsh and the BSBO main banding station 4 miles farther east, I heard of at least 23 warbler species being found today.

Other areas near Lake Erie also hosted many birds.  Early this morning, Forrest Rowland had good numbers and variety of migrants around the edge of the Lodge and Nature Center parking lot at Maumee Bay State Park, and Michael Godfrey reported similarly good results in the woods at East Harbor State Park, just east of Port Clinton.  So it appears that the migrants were more concentrated near the lakeshore today than they had been the day before, but White-crowned Sparrows and others were widespread inland as well. 

It still appears that Thursday morning, May 3, also will be very good in n.w. Ohio. After discussing the birds and weather with Mark Shieldcastle, it looks to me as if Thursday could go either of two ways.  We could have another day of good diversity but only moderate numbers: the southerly winds forecast for the overnight hours are not connected to major weather systems, so they may just bring in a generous sprinkling of birds.  Or the flight could surprise us, with the southerly winds bringing many birds along and possibly running into a shower or two near dawn, so that we see good diversity AND very large numbers.

According to current forecasts, southerly winds should continue through Thursday night, bringing more turnover and more arrivals Friday, before a wind shift slows things down on Saturday.  By that time, we should have enough birds in every patch of habitat locally to keep things interesting for the next week!

Summary: Thursday and Friday, May 3 and 4, should bring good variety, and numbers ranging from fair to excellent. Saturday May 5 might bring more arrivals, but is more likely to keep Friday's birds in place.

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