Sunday, May 5, 2013

4/14 IL Migration Report

Hello again,

Notice the warm front moving north over IL
Well what a great debut night! Illinois is lighting up folks, or at least the birds are lighting up our radar. Tonight, we have strong enough southerly flow to push large numbers of migrants northward, and so far, a density of around 70 to 300 birds are passing through each cubic kilometer of Illinois. Not only that, but the birds, propelled by the winds, are moving in excess of 60 miles per hour almost due north. Awesome! I encourage you to check the radar (see below) and see the craziness that is happening right now.

Notice the northerly winds over IL
So what are these birds? Well, these birds are obviously migrating at night, so most of these birds are
Notice the northerly winds over IL
songbirds, mixed with a few shorebirds, herons, and other exceptions to the general rule. Tomorrow, we can expect the arrivals to be mostly the same migrant birds we've been seeing the past few weeks, including more EASTERN PHOEBES, YELLOW-RUMPED, PALM, AND PINE WARBLERS, and various blackbirds. We can also predict the arrivals of more CASPIAN TERNS, FORSTER'S TERNS, both YELLOWLEGS, PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSHES, BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS, KINGLETS, and HERMIT THRUSHES.

All the blue, non-storm-looking noise are birds
For you year listers, keep an eye out for GREEN HERONS, early SORAS, CHIMNEY SWIFTS, EASTERN KINGBIRDS, BLUE-HEADED and RED-EYED VIREOS, HOUSE WRENS, OVENBIRDS, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHES, NORTHERN PARULA, YELLOW WARBLER, maybe some Oreothlypis warblers, all the expected sparrows, and maybe some BALTIMORE ORIOLES. Early arrivals and spring overshoots could include these species, but mass influxes/passages of these birds will be happening soon if not right now.

Also of note, winter-resident waterfowl are starting to file out of the region. As the winds are primarily southeasterly, those of you who have access to the lakefront, go find something awesome. Now's your chance. Waterfowl, shorebirds, swallows, and raptors (such as OSPREY, BROAD-WINGED HAWK, etc.) should be moving tomorrow if the winds stay southerly, and the lakefront should channel this movement.
Good luck to everyone! If I missed anything, let me know, and as always, please do follow up with sightings from tomorrow. I'd love to see what tonight's movement brings.

(Also, I'm looking for a catchier name for this report than IL Migration Report, like IL-DAR, or something that has to do with bird migration and radar. Any yes it can be acronymized. Have at it.)
Velocity of the birds moving over central Illinois. Red tones mean movement
away from the radar unit, and blue means moving towards the unit, so we can
see the birds are moving almost due north. On the side, we see the velocity in
knots, showing that the birds are moving near 65 knots, or roughly 74 mph.

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