Wednesday, May 15, 2013

5/15 IL Migration Report

Arrivals of Mourning Warbler in the past 7 days
Today was a fantastic day. Still waiting in suspense for the Big Day Crew's total, we looked on as birders reported huge numbers of birds along the lakefront in Cook and Lake Counties (see this report:, and at the same time, observed the lull in Southern IL birding, an observation made astutely by Keith McMullen (scroll down here: Birds moved in
considerable concentrations last night, and while the Northern half of the state seems loaded with awesome birds, Southern IL is mysteriously lacking in some groups. It will be interesting to see how this plays out...also interesting that whereas Southern IL had a lot of early migrants earlier this spring, things have slowed down since then (or haven't accelerated). Any more posts on Southern IL birdlife are always appreciated.

Notable movements today included RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD, MOURNING WARBLER, WILSON'S WARBLER, YELLOW-THROATED and RED-EYED VIREO, SORA, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, SANDERLING, and DUNLIN, though obviously there were many more species out today. The Big Day crew reported 150 species by 10:30 AM (!!!), and more than 100 species were reported at Montrose today.

As Matt Fraker observed in his stunning warbler post (see here on IBF:, there was a line of northerly winds met by our southerly winds in Wisconsin last night, and all migration pretty much stopped there. Well, this line has proceeded south into our range, and is dividing the state into regions of northerly and southerly winds. The northern half of IL is currently experiencing northerly winds, and the southern half is experiencing southerly winds. You can see the reason for this below this paragraph. Luckily, the cold front that is bring in these northerly winds isn't moving with much conviction, and thus these winds aren't very strong (see here:, so birds are still proceeding northward in light to moderate concentrations. This is especially true in NE IL-> I'm tellin' you folks, these birds cannot be stopped! Migration is still moderate to heavy in Southern IL. This windy discrepancy shouldn't last too long, as winds are forecast to become southerly again tomorrow afternoon (Northern IL wind forecast:, Southern IL wind forecast: Looking further ahead, this weekend should also be really good for migration, so if you haven't made plans to get out there, make some!
The cause of tonight's wind discrepency

For a neat visualization of tonight's winds, see here-------------------------------------------------->

Cool! So tonight should be slightly less productive for migrants in the northern half of the state tonight, while Southern IL retains its favorable conditions that it has retained for the entire week.

To figure out which species to look for in your area, here are the eBird resources I shared yesterday and the 13th.
General IL charts:
Make your own:

That's all for tonight, folks!

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