Monday, May 12, 2014

Migration Forecast May 12-16

Monday, May 12: Last Thursday, the 8th, things picked up in a major way as predicted, and excellent numbers and variety have been in the area since, especially on Friday and Saturday. Continuing southwest winds and some overnight rain have combined to keep creating turnover every night, with new birds showing up each morning. The variety has been outstanding, with good studies of many of the uncommon migrants, such as Black-billed Cuckoo, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Philadelphia Vireo, Gray-cheeked Thrush, and Golden-winged Warbler. A rather early Connecticut Warbler was found at Pipe Creek, and a Kirtland's Warbler was heard in Oak Openings, so 37 species of warblers have been found in the region already, although we are still waiting for Kirtland's and Connecticut in the immediate area of Magee Marsh. 

Tonight, Monday night, will continue the very warm temperatures and good south-southwest winds, with scattered thunderstorms during the night. So Tuesday morning should be another one with quite a bit of turnover and fairly good numbers of birds in the spots near the Lake Erie shoreline. But by sometime late Tuesday night, a cool front will move in, with temperatures dropping and winds shifting around to the west and then the northwest. With northerly winds and with much cooler temperatures on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, I don't expect a lot of new birds to arrive on those mornings. 

This means that many of the birds that have arrived by tomorrow will stick around for several days. So to see more variety, it will become more important to check a variety of different spots, rather than making repeat visits to the same spots. 

For birding in those conditions, if winds are from northerly directions, the birds are likely to be concentrated in different places. The edge of the lake (as along the Magee East Beach, the outer part of the Estuary Trail, or the woodlot at the end of the road at Metzger Marsh) typically isn't as productive with those winds; the birds move a short distance inland. So those would be good days to bird the protected southern parts of the Magee boardwalk, or woodlots just a little inland, such as behind BSBO or the Sportsmen's Migratory Bird Center, the woods behind the visitors' center at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, or the woods of Pearson Park. For water birds, the auto tour at Ottawa NWR is always worth taking; it has produced such birds as Wilson's Phalarope and Eared Grebe in recent days. 

A special note for Thursday May 15: It's predicted to be a much cooler day, with temps ranging from the low 40s to the mid 50s. In the past, when we've had a sudden cool-down in mid-May, it has resulted in lots of birds foraging very low at the Magee boardwalk and all the other woods in the area (yes, even lower than they usually do). It's probably going to rain off and on during the day, but if you carry a waterproof covering to protect your camera from sudden downpours, Thursday might be a very good day for photography - one of those days when you repeatedly have to back up to get the bird in focus. Something to think about, if the weather forecast stays unchanged. 

Some notable rarities have turned up in the last few days. Most surprising was the flock of ten Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks discovered by Dr. Andy Jones during a Biggest Week field trip to Pipe Creek, Erie County, on the 11th. On the morning of the 12th, eight of these birds (probably from the same flock?) appeared at the north area of Pearson Park (s.w. of Maumee Bay, town of Oregon), accessed from the entrance on Seaman Road. This colorful tropical duck has been recorded only about 3 times previously in Ohio.

Summary: no huge waves of migrants expected before the weekend, but a great diversity of species should continue in the area all week. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ken - What would you have to say if you had a venture a guess for this upcoming weekend? Try for Magee or look for other places to go?

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