Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Big Weekend for Biggest Week: Migration forecast for May 7 - 11

Chestnut-sided Warbler: a major player in the second wave.

Wednesday, May 6th: The first real push of migrating songbirds appeared on Monday, as we had predicted. With a delayed shift to northerly winds on Monday night, much turnover of birds was seen on Tuesday (especially an increase in Yellow-rumped Warblers and a decrease in White-throated Sparrows). Northerly and easterly winds did dominate on Tuesday night, but even so, a big movement of birds came in overnight. The BSBO main banding station at Navarre Marsh (east of Magee Marsh) had their biggest day of the spring so far today, the 6th, with even more birds than on Monday. The reasons for this are obscure, since the weather patterns didn't seem conducive to a large flight. At any rate, excellent numbers and variety of birds are in the area. And conditions look good for a great start for The Biggest Week in American Birding festival on Friday, May 8th.

The current mix of birds includes many nocturnal migrants, such as warblers, but also daytime migrants such as goldfinches and siskins. Despite the wind direction a surprising amount of Pine Siskins have moved into the area today, with counts of up to thirty birds at a time flocking to feeders. 
One of many Pine Siskins visiting the feeders at BSBO's window on wildlife.

Even though winds are expected to blow from the east tonight, they should be calm enough to allow for some movement and the arrival of some new birds by Thursday. But the best days to expect new (and more) birds will be Friday and Saturday, May 8th and 9th. With two low pressure systems hovering near the Gulf and over the central U.S., southwest winds will be pushing directly towards NW Ohio bringing warm tropical air and migrants. 

With this next flight, we should be experiencing the second wave of migrating songbirds, which provides the greatest species diversity. Numerically, this wave is dominated by White-throated Sparrow, Swainson's Thrush, female Yellow-rumped Warbler, female Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and male Magnolia Warbler. From a birding standpoint, this wave is notable for the big increase in diversity of warblers, with Chestnut-sided and Bay-breasted both becoming numerous, and for the first notable arrival of thrushes, flycatchers, and other migrants.

Along with birds, these days will also bring an increase in temperature and precipitation. Forecasts show that Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will exceed 80 degrees so remember to dress for the weather and stay hydrated. The other thing to expect with warm days and low pressure from the Gulf is rain. Thunderstorms and rain are expected on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with the most rain expected during the evening on Saturday and Sunday. Keep an eye on the weather and be prepared to cover any electronic equipment and camera lenses. 

Many birds may move along through the weekend with the continuing southerly winds, but there is a slight chance for rain both Saturday and Sunday night which may help keep some birds in place.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

How is this weeks cooldown going to affect bird photography opportunities this week (5/12 - 5/17)?

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