Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Migration Outlook April 18-23

Pine Warbler is a classic April migrant at Magee Marsh and nearby areas in n.w. Ohio, and a few are in the area right now.  Photo by Kenn Kaufman.

Wednesday, April 17:  With a notable arrival of new birds during the last three days, the diversity of migrants in northwestern Ohio is growing rapidly.  Most warblers and other neotropical migrants are present in only small numbers, but the potential for surprising finds has ramped up considerably, and seekers are finding an exciting mix of birds.

Along with a push of Yellow-rumped Warblers and White-throated Sparrows on April 15-17, the area also received a good sprinkling of other birds, including Pine, Palm, Yellow, and Nashville warblers, Ovenbird, Louisiana Waterthrush, House Wren, Snowy Egret, Chimney Swift, and others.  A Prairie Warbler was enjoyed by many along the Magee Marsh boardwalk on April 16-17.

Tonight (Wednesday night) winds are from the east, but they are supposed to swing around to the south by sometime Thursday morning.  I doubt that will happen in time to produce many new migrants overnight, especially with rain happening to the south of us; but continuing southerly winds on Thursday might produce a daytime flight of hawks and other birds along the lake shore. With winds continuing southerly through Thursday night, Friday, and at least part of Friday night, we'll probably see a good arrival of new birds Friday morning, maybe Saturday morning as well.  But at the same time, we should watch for birds from the west.  A strong low-pressure system passing by to the north of us will create a major air flow from the west, so we might see strays such as American Avocet, Marbled Godwit, more American White Pelicans, or even Swainson's Hawk.  

Over the weekend we'll see winds shifting to the north on Saturday night (along with unseasonably cold temperatures) and then to the east-southeast on Sunday, shutting down much arrival of birds from the south or the west.  There will still be a lot of birds in the area, but they may be back away from the lake shore on Saturday and Sunday - so if the Magee boardwalk isn't active, you should check other spots a mile or two south, like the woods at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.  The auto tour at Ottawa is supposed to be open this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, from 8 to 4.  

On Monday, April 22, the winds will shift to more southerly again, especially overnight, and it's likely that we'll have a moderate arrival of migrants on Tuesday morning, the 23rd.  The number and variety of warblers and other neotropical migrants should continue to gradually increase, although I don't expect a massive arrival until a little later in the week.  

Summary:  Good numbers of early migrants are in the area, so every day should be rewarding for birding.  In the near term, the best days for new arrivals of migrants may be Friday, the 19th, and Tuesday, the 23rd, although the latter is still uncertain and the forecast may change.


Mark Morgan said...

What does "overflight species" refer to?

Kenn Kaufman said...

Mark, in answer to your question, an "overflight species" is a migratory bird that has its main breeding range south of here. Every spring, a few of these birds on their way north will overshoot their target and wind up here on the Lake Erie shoreline. Presumably after they get reoriented, they turn around and fly south to their breeding territory.

Gretchen said...

Just wanted to let you know that we saw a Eurasian jackdaw on the boardwalk at location 23, yesterday, 4/23 around 11:45 am. We did not know what it was, but got some decent pictures. This morning we were able to identify it! If you want to see pictures you can email me at

Gretchen Dowling

Gretchen said...

Hi Ken,
Gretchen again. Just spoke with Ryan Steiner and it seems that my Eurasian jackdaw was actually a rusty blackbird. A life bird for me as well. Ryan has pictures to make sure, but I'm pretty confident that he is right.

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