Monday, May 25, 2015

May 25th, 2015

Tonight's winds. Click
image to view live.
Tonight, to our delight, the forecast has held true. Strong, southerly tailwinds dominate Illinoisan skies, facilitating some of this spring's last avian migration. Overhead, light to moderate concentrations are moving en masse throughout the state So, regardless of where you are, some influx should be visible tomorrow morning. Will you be out there to see it?

Tonight's radar. Click
image to view live.
The forecast, however, seems to have shifted ahead of today. Whereas yesterday predicted a shift of northerly winds into Northern Illinois, such an occurrence is no longer predicted. Instead, northern Illinois is set to receive westerly winds tomorrow, while the rest of the state remains within the realm of southerly winds. From there, southerlies are forecast to predominate throughout the state at least until Friday. So to any migrants still waiting to move northward, the door is open in Illinois.

That's that about that. For any of you wondering just what you may see tomorrow, check out this eBird Page for an Illinois focus, or the latest BirdCast National Forecast for a regional focus.

Good luck to all those birding tomorrow! Until tomorrow, I bid you adieu.
Winds forecast over Illinois for tomorrow night. Note westerly winds in Northern IL.
Click image to view live.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

May 24th, 2015

Winds tonight. Click im-
age to view live.
As predicted, tonight has brought powerful southerly winds over Illinois. Perhaps even more significant, precipitation has entered the Prairie State in a variety of places. A combination of these factors has allowed only light to moderate concentrations overhead, with nothing moving where it's raining. As storms systems pass over Illinois tonight, they will block any migration they encounter. Luckily, most of the storm systems on the radar right now are limited in size, so some influxes should be apparent tomorrow regardless of where you are. 

Radar tonight. Storms &
birds in between. Click
image to view live.
As migration continues to wind down in the next few days, let's look at how the winds will affect them. Tomorrow night, winds are forecast to remain favorably southerly, so migration should again be visible Tuesday morning. On Tuesday, a front from the north is set to enter Northern Illinois, bringing unfavorably northerlies with it. By Wednesday night, these winds are forecast to block off the northern half of the state, restricting any migratory remnants to Southern Illinois. But fear not! Winds are then forecast to become southerly again by Thursday night.

Good stuff, Illinois. Predict which migrants are still out there using this eBird Page for an Illinois focus, or the latest BirdCast National Migration Forecast for a regional focus .

As always, thanks for the read, and good birding!

Winds forecast for tomorrow night (5/25): favorable, southerly tailwinds. Click image to view live.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

May 23rd, 2015

Tonight's winds. Click
image to view live.
Tonight, Illinois has received the strong southerly winds we've been waiting for the past few days. Strong southerly winds means smooth sailing for what migrants are left, and they are indeed moving northward tonight. Light to moderate concentrations are in transit over the Prairie State right now. Many of these species are on the last leg of their northward migration, a common characterization in this last week of May. Some migratory influx will be visible tomorrow morning, but keep in mind that it won't be as obvious as it was a week or two ago.

Tonight's radar. Click
image to view live.
Next up: the forecast. Tonight's southerly winds are set to remain throughout the state at least into Tuesday, but even still they will be a'shiftin'. Tomorrow afternoon, winds will become progressively stronger, and by tomorrow night, we may see large areas where winds aloft reach nearly 50 miles per hour. This speed may be overpowering for migrants, so any movements are likely to be limited to near the surface, where winds are set to be calmer. All that aside, tomorrow night be one of those rare spring occasions of southerly winds and limited migration. From there, winds are set to remain favorably southerly through Monday night, at which time they will be calmer aloft. Southerly winds will continue until Tuesday night, when a front is set to intrude from the north and block off Northern Illinois from favorable conditions. As always, I'll keep you posted.
Powerful winds, maxing out at 44 kts, predicted aloft (1000 ft) for
tomorrow (5/24) at midnight. Click image to view live.

So tomorrow morning, then, should bear witness to some influxes. Predict what that influx will be composed of using this eBird page or a brand new BirdCast National Forecast.

Until tomorrow night, good birding, all!

Friday, May 22, 2015

May 22nd, 2015

Tonight's surface analysis
Tonight's winds
Tonight, we have an example of when the forecast just doesn't hold true. Instead of variably strong southerly winds throughout the state, high pressure has unexpectedly brought a cold front. This cold front from the north has brought unfavorable east/northeasterly winds, which have extended over much of Northern and some of Central Illinois by now. As a result of these high pressure systems, winds south of this front are not remarkably favorable either, remaining confused and undirected. So, overall, we've received conditions in which migration is predominantly light. So much for the weekend arriving with a bang.
Radar tonight.

Looking toward the forecast, winds are predicted to become powerfully southerly tomorrow and remain so at least until Tuesday. This means favorable conditions for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights at least. Keep in mind, though, the following two things: 1) These winds are forecast to be strong at a level that may be overwhelming for migrants, and 2) We've entered the back end of spring migration, when heavy movements are increasingly rare. All said, we should see at least some noteworthy migration tomorrow night. I'll keep you posted.

For now, keep an eye on our handy eBird Page for predicting which species you'll see tomorrow.

With that, I bid you all adieu for the night. Good birding!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

May 21st, 2015

Tonight's winds. Click image to
view live.
Tonight, as discussed yesterday, we have received strong, westerly-based winds. I much of the state, these winds have taken on a southerly component. Unfortunately, perhaps due to the presence of two pressure centers in or near Illinois, birds are not responding heavily. Migration so far tonight is light at best, with minimal avian noise showing on the radar.

Radar tonight. Click
image to view live.
Tomorrow night, on the other hand, is looking to be more encouraging. Winds throughout the state are forecast to be favorably southerly, though Central Illinois is set to have a strong easterly component as well. Compared to tonight, tomorrow night will probably carry more migration, perhaps reaching moderate concentrations. From there, Saturday night is looking to be even more favorable, with strong, direct southerly winds on the docket. From there, favorable southerly winds are forecast to last at least into Tuesday. Throughout this period, winds are forecast to reach 45-50 miles per hour in some places, so birds may not be as responsive to tailwinds as before. I'll keep you posted.
Winds forecast for tomorrow night (May 22nd). Click image to view the wind forecast live.
For now, I will bid you all adieu again with a link to our handy eBird Page and the latest BirdCast Report for predicting what species are out there. The breeding season is nigh, everyone; tracking phenology now essentially means finding those last migrants to depart Illinois, and of course finding those oddball stragglers.

Here's to finding stuff, everybody. Good birding!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May 20th, 2015

Tonight's winds. Click im-
age to view live.
Tonight's will be a short report, as essentially nothing is moving over the Prairie State tonight. Steady, northerly winds are preventing any legitimate movements from occurring, and as such, tonight's radar is dark. That's that about that.

Tonight's radar. Click
image to view live
Tomorrow's strong westerly winds, forecast for two days in a row now, may not be more promising, but we'll keep eyes on the radar. Looking ahead from there, favorable southerly winds are set to return by Friday night and continue throughout the state at least through Tuesday night. Keep in mind, though, that migration is winding down in the East. Birds are reaching their sought after breeding grounds, and as more species reach the culmination of their hurried journey, there will be fewer and fewer to find here. While winds are set to be favorable starting Friday night, it's unlikely that we'll see migration like what we saw a week ago. Even so, this weekend may be spring migration's last big push before only stragglers remain. As always, I'll keep you posted.
Winds forecast for Saturday night (the 23rd). Click image to view live.
Until we conclude our mutual migration reporting, check which species to expect remains a worthwhile endeavor. As always, here are the internet sources to equip you in making predictions: our trusty eBird Page for Illinois-specific data, and the latest BirdCast National Forecast for a more regional perspective. 

Until tomorrow, good birding all!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May 19th, 2015

And we're back, Illinois!

Over the course of my three day hiatus, migration has gradually died down as favorable conditions have deteriorated. Migration reached moderate to heavy concentrations Saturday night (the 16th), but then only reached moderate concentrations at most on Sunday (the 17th). Last night, the 18th, migration was even sparser, remaining steadfastly around light concentrations at most.
Radar from 5/18

Radar from 5/16
Radar from 5/17

Radar tonight.
So where does that leave us tonight? As somewhat of a conclusion of these past few days, unfavorable northerly headwinds are dominant in Illinois tonight. As such, very little is migrating tonight, with hardly light concentrations reaching even Southern Illinois. After the glory of the past two weeks, we're on the downslope, folks, descending steadily from the summit.

Where to go from here? The forecast predicts the continuation of northerly winds through tomorrow. Thereafter, winds will become powerful and westerly, less-than-favorable conditions that will finally give way to southerly tailwinds on Friday night. Given the presence of a front predicted in Southern Illinois that night, it looks like it's really Saturday night to be excited about. At that time, the door from the south and to the north will be opened, as southerly winds will predominate across the state. Until then, I'll keep you all posted.

In the mean time, it's always good to check in on which species you'll be seeing out there. Check out this eBird Page for an Illinois focus, and the latest BirdCast National Forecast for a more regional perspective.
Winds forecast for Saturday night (May 23rd)

That's all for tonight, folks. Happy to be back reporting.

Good birding!