Friday, October 30, 2015

Oct 31: Autumn 2015 Conclusion

Hello birding friends,

Seems like this fall has gone by quickly so far! I do hope these migration reports have been as helpful as they were in the past! This is the final migration report of autumn 2015, and I have decided that - this being a trial season for me continuing the reports - I will indeed continue to write these next spring, with the "precursor" sent out in early March and consistent reports posted throughout April and May.

This report will be divided into three sections:
1) Forecast for tomorrow
2) Analysis for what has happened thus far this fall
3) Prediction for the rest of the fall/winter

TONIGHT'S REPORT:
Tonight, a huge rain system is moving into the state - which will sadly be dampening the conditions for Halloween. This means that little to no migration will be occurring tonight and rain pretty much all day tomorrow throughout the state will be limiting any birding opportunities, including hawk watching also. For anyone interested, the rain system can be viewed on the current national composite radar (http://tempest.aos.wisc.edu/radar/us3comp.gif).

ANALYSIS SO FAR:
Now, here is an analysis for exactly what has happened so far this far, from July all the way until now, in bullet-point list format:

Please note: I am sure I am missing some interesting birds and some of the details might be a day or two off, but I did the best I could!

  • Multiple Scissor-tailed Flycatcher sightings in the central and southern parts of the state in July
  • Magnificent Frigatebird seen by Josh Engel heading north over Fullerton on the lakefront in Chicago on July 8
  • Long-tailed Jaeger on Horseshoe Lake in mid-July
  • Piping Plover in Livingston on July 18
  • Violet-green Swallow at Montrose Point on July 22
  • Red Phalarope at Lake Mavaiseterre on July 27
  • Neotropic Cormorant seen at Emiquon in mid August
  • Red-necked Phalarope shows up at Maple Park on August 16
  • Royal Tern at Waukegan Beach on August 19
  • 46 Hudsonian Godwits at Goofy Ridge on August 23
  • Swallow-tailed Kite seen in Effingham, then up to Champaign, starting August 23
  • Steve Huggins records 6000+ Common Nighthawks migrating on September 2
  • Harris' Sparrows start arriving September 30 (this may not have been first arrival, though)
  • First of the Pine Siskins are reported to be migrating in 1000+ numbers at the IBSP Hawk Watch
  • White-rumped Sandpiper "invasion" starts around October 3, this anomaly was caused by strange easterly winds prevailing this autumn
  • Mottled Duck at Hazlet State Park on October 4
  • Bullock's Oriole is photographed in River Forest, a suburb of Chicago, on October 14
  • First Northern Saw-whet Owl of the Saw Whet Surveys is recorded at IBSP on Oct 15
  • Spotted Towhee at Greene Valley Forest Preserve on October 17
  • Little Gull & Red-necked Grebes found at Lake Shelbyville on October 18
  • First Snowy Owl of the season is reported in LaSalle County on October 21, very early
  • Red Crossbill seen in Centennial Park in Springfield, first possible migrant (i.e. not a Sand Ridge SF bird)
  • Pacific Loon seen on Lake Springfield on October 26
It has certainly been an interesting fall! One of the most interesting parts for me was seeing all of the reports of White-rumped Sandpipers across the state because of the predominating easterly (!) winds blowing them off of their usual migratory trajectories. 

PREDICTIONS FOR THE REST OF AUTUMN, ALSO WINTER 2015/2016:

This coming week, southwesterly wind flow will predominate over the state - meaning that nocturnal migration will be limited; however, this is conducive for typical late-season vagrants from the southwest. Cave Swallow, Ash-throated Flycatcher, and Franklin's Gull come to mind. Keep your eyes open!

Waterfowl: November is THE month for waterfowl migration! Starting anytime now and going through the entire month, I encourage birders all across the state to get out there and look for rarer species such as the Scoters and anything else that could be lurking in your local lake. Throughout the winter, whenever water is not frozen over, get out and admire those diving ducks - especially on Lake Michigan - while you can!

Falcons/Hawks: November is still a great month for raptors, but I would suggest that you try to go and watch these in the first or second weeks of the months because they will be slightly more productive (based on annual averages) and probably less cold.

Shorebirds: These species should continue to diminish in presence here in the state. Get out and go see any of the remaining White-rumped Sandpipers while you still can - as I said, it is quite a treat to have so many this fall!

Gulls: These have already started arriving and I would highly suggest scouting out North Point Marina, Lake County Fairgrounds, and any other renowned sites (especially near Lake Michigan) for our more uncommon colder-month gull species starting to appear around now!

Snowy Owls: With the recent high numbers of sightings in Wisconsin as well as a smattering from Illinois, I have reasons to believe that this winter could be another "echo" Snowy irruption, so be on the lookout for these beauties whenever you are in grassland, agricultural, or other open habitats from now until late February or so. These typically come into the state in greater numbers starting the third week of November, and even more so starting the first week of December. These owls usually are found throughout the winter here in Illinois and some have been known to stay as late as April in extreme cases!

Red-breasted Nuthatch: Always a few of these are seen every winter, but this season is not expected to be a great one to see these cuties.

Bohemian Waxwing: There is a chance a few individuals of this species could end up in Illinois this winter, given a predicted overall southward an eastward movement from the Boreal Forest.

IRRUPTIVE FINCHES: 
Please visit the Winter Finch Forecast for more details: http://www.jeaniron.ca/2015/forecast15.htm

Based on the winter finch forecast and other sources, here are my predictions on a 10-point scale of how likely an irruption (many individuals of the species) of the particular species into Illinois is this winter. 10/10 is obviously most likely with 0/10 being no chance at all.

Pine Grosbeak: 1/10
Purple Finch: 10/10
Red Crossbill: 6/10
White-winged Crossbill: 4/10
Common Redpoll: 9/10
Hoary Redpoll: 1/10
Pine Siskin: 10/10
Evening Grosbeak: 2/10

Until next March, folks, I will be posting sporadically about any Illinois birding I do (I am going out into my backyard to make sure there are no rogue Saw-whet Owls right after I post this - I kid you not!). Always feel free to reply to this email or contact me at trumpetswan@comcast.net 

Happy birding!

Henry (Oak Park, Cook County)
trumpetswan@comcast.net

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Oct 30, 2015: 2nd-to-last Report of Fall!

Hello birding friends,

I have decided to only post reports in the months of August - October and April - May in order to keep my sanity. This means that this is the second-to-last report of the season. I'm sure all of you busy people out there can understand. :-)

Fall migration; however, does certainly not end with the conclusion of these reports tomorrow. In fact, many aspects of migration like, as we are seeing, winter finches, owls, and waterfowl are only just in their beginning stages. I will post a much more comprehensive analysis of the fall and what is to come this late autumn/winter season tomorrow night.

As for tonight, Illinois is seeing some rather strange migration levels. The northern third is seeing light migration, the central third has no migration over it, and the far southern third has light to moderate levels of migrants in its skies. This can all be seen on the current national composite radar (http://tempest.aos.wisc.edu/radar/us3comp.gif).

Hawk Watching Forecast: In northeast Illinois tomorrow, fairly good conditions will be prevailing for raptor migrations. Satisfactory viewing conditions - partly cloudy skies - coupled with southwest winds that will be pushing any migrating raptors towards the boundary of Lake Michigan's shoreline, may result in a nice push for raptors tomorrow at sites like Greene Valley, Fort Sheridan, and IBSP.

To find out exactly which species are in our area, please consult:
BirdCasts's regional migration forecast for this week: http://birdcast.info/forecast/regional-migration-forecast-23-30-october-2015/#MidwestNortheast
-and-
eBird's species occurrence chart for Illinois: http://ebird.org/ebird/GuideMe?src=changeDate&getLocations=states&states=US-IL&parentState=US-IL&reportType=location&monthRadio=on&bMonth=08&eMonth=11&bYear=1900&eYear=2015&continue.x=63&continue.y=9&continue=Continue

In summary, tomorrow should be a fairly productive day across the state for arrivals and influxes and also a fairly productive day for hawk watching, at least in the northeast corner of the state.

Good birding,

Henry (Oak Park, Cook County)
trumpetswan@comcast.net
ilmigration.blogspot.com
worldbirding.travellerspoint.com
sites.google.com/site/opbirdwalks/

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Oct 28 - 29, 2015

Hello birding friends,

This is the combined migration report for tomorrow and Thursday. As you can see from the current national composite radar (http://tempest.aos.wisc.edu/radar/us3comp.gif), migration is nonexistent due to rain across the state tonight. These rain showers will continue moving northward, only affecting northern Illinois tomorrow. This means that despite no turnover from tonight, birds will be active tomorrow in southern Illinois since birds tend to be overly active after storms, making up for the foraging they missed during the storm.

Hawk Watching Forecast: It will be rainy in northern Illinois tomorrow, so obviously not a hawk-watching day tomorrow. :-) Thursday could possibly be PRODUCTIVE; however, because of westerly winds & cloudy skies for NE Illinois.

Thursday should be pretty different from tomorrow, because a fairly moderate flight should happen tomorrow night across the state. This means that morning birding should be productive pretty much anywhere in the state on Thursday. Also, west winds combined with cloudy skies in northeast Illinois in Thursday will make for good hawk watching conditions, so you should get out to IBSP, Fort Sheridan, Greene Valley, or other locations to look for migrating raptors then!

To predict exactly which species you are likely to encounter and when, please consult:
BirdCast's regional migration forecast for this week: http://birdcast.info/forecast/regional-migration-forecast-23-30-october-2015/#MidwestNortheast
-and-
eBird's species occurrence chart for Illinois: http://ebird.org/ebird/GuideMe?src=changeDate&getLocations=states&states=US-IL&parentState=US-IL&reportType=location&monthRadio=on&bMonth=08&eMonth=11&bYear=1900&eYear=2015&continue.x=63&continue.y=9&continue=Continue

In summary, tomorrow it would be worth birding in southern Illinois due to the likelihood of sheer activity, but not the turnover, of birds there. It will be raining in northern regions of the state so no birding there! Thursday should be productive throughout the state with a possibility of great hawk watching conditions in northeast Illinois.

Good birding,

Henry (Oak Park, Cook County)
trumpetswan@comcast.net
ilmigration.blogspot.com
worldbirding.travellerspoint.com
sites.google.com/site/opbirdwalks/

Monday, October 26, 2015

Oct 27, 2015

Hello birding friends,

Tonight, Illinois is experiencing very little avian movement, as evidenced by the almost complete lack of blue radar noise over the state on the current national composite radar (http://tempest.aos.wisc.edu/radar/us3comp.gif). This means that avian turnover will be negligible tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.

Hawk Watching Forecast: Tomorrow, east winds with rain in the forecast for the afternoon for northeast Illinois make for poor hawk watching conditions - it is not recommended for tomorrow.

To predict exactly which species you are likely to encounter and when, please consult:
BirdCast's migration forecast for this week: http://birdcast.info/forecast/regional-migration-forecast-23-30-october-2015/#MidwestNortheast
-and-
eBird's species occurrence chart for Illinois: http://ebird.org/ebird/GuideMe?src=changeDate&getLocations=states&states=US-IL&parentState=US-IL&reportType=location&monthRadio=on&bMonth=08&eMonth=11&bYear=1900&eYear=2015&continue.x=63&continue.y=9&continue=Continue

In summary, tomorrow (Tuesday) should not be a great day for birding across the state.

Good(ish) birding,
:-)
Henry (Oak Park, Cook County)
trumpetswan@comcast.net
ilmigration.blogspot.com
worldbirding.travellerspoint.com
sites.google.com/site/opbirdwalks/

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Oct 26, 2015

Hello birding friends,

Tonight, Illinois is experiencing a moderate to moderately-heavy avian flight. As seen on the current national composite radar (http://tempest.aos.wisc.edu/radar/us3comp.gif), the northern three quarters of Illinois are experiencing moderate levels of migration while the far southern quarter is sporting slightly heavier migration tonight.

Hawk Watching Forecast: Easterly winds predominating tomorrow in northeast Illinois should not be pushing hawks towards the lakefront, and when combined with less-than-optimal viewing conditions for hawks - mostly sunny skies - tomorrow should not be a productive day for raptor migration.

To predict exactly which species you are likely to find and when, please consult:
BirdCast's regional migration forecast for this week: http://birdcast.info/forecast/regional-migration-forecast-23-30-october-2015/#MidwestNortheast
-and-
eBird's species occurrence chart for Illinois: http://ebird.org/ebird/GuideMe?src=changeDate&getLocations=states&states=US-IL&parentState=US-IL&reportType=location&monthRadio=on&bMonth=08&eMonth=11&bYear=1900&eYear=2015&continue.x=63&continue.y=9&continue=Continue

Good birding,

Henry (Oak Park, Cook County)
trumpetswan@comcast.net
ilmigration.blogspot.com
worldbirding.travellerspoint.com
sites.google.com/site/opbirdwalks/

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Oct 25, 2015

Hello birding friends,

Welcome to the last full week of migration reports for autumn 2015! I plan on posting every day this week except for Wednesday night. This Friday, October 30th will be the last migration report of the season because it would be a bummer to have to write one on Halloween and I don't plan on reporting in November. I can't believe how quickly this autumn season has gone by!

As seen on the current national composite radar (http://tempest.aos.wisc.edu/radar/us3comp.gif), Illinois is experiencing varying levels of migration tonight. Northeast Illinois is experiencing a light to moderate flight, northwest Illinois is experiencing a moderate flight, southeast Illinois is experiencing a moderate to heavy flight, and southwest Illinois is experiencing a heavy to very heavy concentration of migrants tonight.

Hawk Watching Forecast: Tomorrow, conditions in northeast Illinois look rather unfavorable for hawk watching because although raptors will have a tailwind tomorrow, winds will be out of the northeast, meaning hawks won't be pushed to the Lake Michigan shoreline by westerly winds at all. Also, viewing conditions should be unfavorable with sunny to partly sunny skies expected.

Some species to start looking out for should be Snow Bunting (lakefront & agricultural areas), Lesser Scaup, Bonaparte's Gull, Common Loon, Horned Grebe (water bodies), and Horned Lark (grasslands & agricultural areas). Also, a large low pressure system that will be entering the area has the chance to turn up some western vagrants (Cave & Violet-green Swallows come to mind). Keep your eyes peeled!

To predict exactly which species you are likely to encounter and when, please consult:
BirdCast's updated regional migration forecast for this week: http://birdcast.info/forecast/regional-migration-forecast-23-30-october-2015/#MidwestNortheast
-and-
eBird's species occurrence chart for Illinois: http://ebird.org/ebird/GuideMe?src=changeDate&getLocations=states&states=US-IL&parentState=US-IL&reportType=location&monthRadio=on&bMonth=08&eMonth=11&bYear=1900&eYear=2015&continue.x=63&continue.y=9&continue=Continue

Good birding!

Henry (Oak Park, Cook County)
trumpetswan@comcast.net
ilmigration.blogspot.com
worldbirding.travellerspoint.com
sites.google.com/site/opbirdwalks/

Monday, October 19, 2015

Oct 20 - 24, 2015

Hello birding friends,

This is a report covering tonight all the way to this Saturday, the 24th. Tonight, Illinois is experiencing absolutely no migration - as evidenced by the complete lack of radar noise over the state on the current national composite radar, seen here: http://tempest.aos.wisc.edu/radar/us3comp.gif

After consulting the Weather Channel for wind forecasts, here is what this week should look like in terms of arrivals and influxes into the state:

Tonight: Almost no movement
-
Tomorrow (Tuesday) night: No movement expected in northern part of state, possible light concentrations in southern Illinois
-
Wednesday night: Moderate to heavy concentrations in northern part of state, negligible to light movement in the south
-
Thursday night: Moderate to heavy concentrations in northern part of state, negligible to light movement in the south
-
Friday night: Due to statewide rain, very little migration should be expected, if any at all.

Hawk Watching Forecast: Note, this is for northeast Illinois because Greene Valley, Fort Sheridan, and IBSP Hawk Watches are located there.

Tuesday: Light to moderate movement possible, partly cloudy skies
Wednesday: Light to moderate movement possible, partly cloudy skies
Thursday: Light movement possible, partly cloudy skies
Friday: Negligible movement, mostly cloudy skies.
Saturday: Light to moderate movement possible in the afternoon with mostly cloudy skies.

To predict exactly which species you are likely to find and when, please consult:
BirdCast's regional migration forecast for this week: http://birdcast.info/forecast/regional-migration-forecast-16-23-october-2015/#MidwestNortheast
-and-
http://ebird.org/ebird/GuideMe?src=changeDate&getLocations=states&states=US-IL&parentState=US-IL&reportType=location&monthRadio=on&bMonth=08&eMonth=11&bYear=1900&eYear=2015&continue.x=63&continue.y=9&continue=Continue

In summary, the best days to look for newly arrived species this week should be Thursday & Friday and although hawk watching isn't forecast to be overly remarkable in northeast Illinois this week, your best chances at seeing some raptor movement would be tomorrow (Tuesday), Wednesday, or Saturday afternoon.

Good birding,

Henry (Oak Park, Cook County)
trumpetswan@comcast.net
ilmigration.blogspot.com
worldbirding.travellerspoint.com
sites.google.com/site/opbirdwalks/