Look sharp, Illinois!
I say without hesitation that tonight is currently experiencing the most massive concentrations of bird migration that we've seen all year, period. The radar shows a stunning mix of dark blues and green, indicating densities of between 300 and 2000 birds moving per cubic kilometer, and with all the green visible, its getting closer to the higher count, **especially in southern Illinois. My jaw dropped when I looked at the radar: http://bit.ly/10Qfjz3. Tomorrow--unfortunately toward the middle of the week--may turn out to be one of the best days to be birding for migrants throughout Illinois we've had this year, so if there's any chance you can go birding tomorrow, DO IT!
|Near midday winds tomorrow in N IL|
Quick explanation of why there's so much movement: strong, dominantly southerly winds throughout the state. These winds are forecast to weaken a bit but remain essentially southerly through tomorrow
|Look at those nice Southerly winds covering IL|
and even into Wednesday, with wind's becoming ESE by Tuesday night if you're in S IL. Pretty simple right? Good, let's move on.
Migration in the state in the past 24 hours was primarily defined by shorebirds (e.g. WILSON'S PHALAROPES, PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS, both YELLOWLEGS, WILLETS, BLACK-NECKED STILTS, and UPLAND SANDPIPER with quite a few others), longspurs showing up with as much as an influx as we're going to get from them (mostly SMITH'S LONGSPUR, but also some LAPLANDS), and warblers of all sorts, including YELLOW WARBLER, NORTHERN PARULA, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, etc). I'm omitting a lot here, but this is the jist of today's movement. Skim over IBET and Illinois Birders' Forum for more, as there was a lot today.
And finally, here's my trademark (no not really) giant list of birds to be on the look out for arrivals and influxes of in YOUR area: BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS, GREEN HERON, BROAD-WINGED HAWK, SORA, VIRGINIA RAIL, COMMON GALLINULE, maybe SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, PECTORAL, SPOTTED, LEAST, and SOLITARY SANDPIPER, DUNLIN, UPLAND SANDPIPER, WILLET, WILSON'S PHALAROPE, LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER, FORSTER'S TERN, COMMON TERN, COMMON NIGHTHAWK, EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILL, CHIMNEY SWIFT, RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, LEAST FLYCATCHER, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, BLUE-HEADED, WHITE-EYED, WARBLING and RED-EYED VIREO, HOUSE WREN, SEDGE WREN, MARSH WREN, all the expected swallows, all the expected sparrows (especially take note of LE CONTE'S SPARROWS, HENSLOW'S SPARROWS, GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS, and LARK SPARROWS), SWAINSON'S, GRAY-CHEEKED, and WOOD THRUSHES, warblers including but not limited to BLUE-WINGED WARBLERS, ORANGE CROWNED WARBLERS, PRAIRIE WARBLERS, BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS, PINE WARBLERS, YELLOW WARBLERS, HOODED WARBLERS, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS, NORTHERN PARULAS, LOUISIANA + NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHES, WORM-EATING WARBLERS, COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, SCARLET and SUMMER TANAGERS, ORCHARD and BALTIMORE ORIOLES, BREWER'S, RUSTY, and YELLOW HEADED BLACKBIRDS, INDIGO BUNTINGS, and possibly early DICKCISSELS or BOBOLINKS. And with migration, there are always chances of early overshoots and vagrants too.
Awesome stuff, folks. Get out there tomorrow if you can, especially if you're in Southern IL...it looks like perfect migratory conditions may have come a bit late for you Bird Blitzers, but should last at least for the next 36 hours! Good luck and go get 'em!