Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April 25-30: Steady arrival of migrants expected

This male Hooded Warbler at Magee Marsh last weekend delighted observers by posing along the edge of the parking lot and the boardwalk. This is a regular "overflight" migrant, nesting mostly to the south of this region but showing up here in small numbers in early spring.
Wednesday, April 24:  With rain today and probably tomorrow, and cooler temperatures and westerly winds for the next two nights, migration may be slow temporarily, but not for long.  Starting Friday, April 26, temperatures should be getting warmer for the next several days, climbing into the 60s and to around 70 by Tuesday, April 30.  With winds predicted to be generally from the south, we should see many species arriving in northwestern Ohio.

Based on current weather forecasts, I expect the weekend of April 27-28 to bring good variety of species but not a huge number of individuals.  The southerly winds from Friday through Sunday don't look like they're associated with really large-scale weather systems.  By next Monday or Tuesday, April 29-30, with a  high-pressure area moving off to the east and a large low-pressure area approaching from the west, we should have a flow of air extending all the way up from the Gulf of Mexico, bringing a stronger flow of migrants.

At this point, the migrants present in the area are mainly those expected in mid to late April, dominated by Yellow-rumped Warblers, White-throated Sparrows, and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, but joined by less-common early species such as Orange-crowned Warbler and Pine Warbler.  "Overflight" migrants (those that mostly nest to the south of here, but which overfly their targets and show up here along Lake Erie) recently have included some cooperative and crowd-pleasing birds such as Hooded, Worm-eating, and Cerulean warblers and Louisiana Waterthrush.  Many other species have begun to show up as scattered singles, and new arrivals should be widespread throughout the region during the next few days. 

Brief summary: I expect the birding to be good every day from Friday on, with good variety over the weekend, and then even better variety and numbers next Monday and Tuesday, April 29 and 30.  We may not have any huge migration days during this period but they should all be good (and a good day along the Lake Erie shoreline is much better than a good day in most places!). Since we haven't had the exceptional heat of spring 2012, the trees haven't leafed out fully yet, so the birds are relatively easy to see (and to photograph), making for a very enjoyable time in the field.  We'll hope to see you out there!

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