Sunday, May 4, 2014

May 4th, 2014

Hello again!

***note to readers: links here are live and will change as time progresses, whereas images here are the same as when this post was written

Again, my apologies for missing you all last night...I hope those of you especially in Southern IL found plenty of good birds today. It looks like you did! I hate being sick. It seems like the birds are so much closer and call so much louder to you, begging to be found, when your only task is idleness.

Anyhow, today appeared to be a pretty good day for birds, with things like Broad-winged Hawks, Lark Sparrows, Piping Plovers, Little Blue Herons, Harris's Sparrows, Prothonotary, Kentucky, and Prairies Warblers being the highlights on people's lists today. Thanks to all those who shared their sightings today!

Looking at tonight's surface analysis, we see that we are on the backside of a High pressure system, which would means that we're experiencing southerly winds today. Unfortunately, according to the wind map this system seems to be so weak that it's not really even dictating any wind patterns. So, the more dominant force in tonight's winds is the cold front that passed through today, bring northerly-based winds with it. But fear not; an apparently anomalous phenomenon is taking place tonight, as winds tonight are actually predominantly easterly. And with this easterly tinge in the winds, the birds are moving. Let's take a look by region:

Northern Illinois:
Winds tonight, on average, are almost due Easterly tonight. While easterly winds are not perfectly favorable, tonight, the birds are fighting them. Interestingly, the birds are flying towards northwest of us, using the easterly winds as a sort of partial, diagonal tailwind. Birds are truly fascinating in their ability to sense and adapt to the atmosphere around them (note -- feel free to email me about how we know this...the method is fascinating, but would take up a little bit too much space in this already lengthening report). Anyhow, Northern Illinois is currently experiencing moderate to heavy migration, with the heaviest migration occurring in Northeastern Illinois (higher decibels equals higher concentrations of birds, and tonight, there's a lot of green...see here for NW IL radar, and here for NE IL radar). Looking forward, it appears that winds are forecast to remain predominantly easterly at least through Tuesday's daylight. It's hard to say whether or not these winds will continue to be utilized so heavily by the birds, as they're by no means ideal, so you'll just have to stay tuned!

Central Illinois:
Winds remaining N/NE thru
With the position of tonight's cold front, Central Illinois remains in the same easterly-wind dominated boat. However, the easterly winds over this part of the boat have a much more noticeable northerly tinge, and for that reason, birds probably won't be migrating as heavily there. Looking at the radar, migration is light to moderate, not quite reaching up past the heavy mark at 20 dBz. But, like in Northern Illinois, birds are using their long-distance-flight instincts and migrating diagonally, an observation I can't quite explain with anything but awe. Northeasterly winds are forecast to continue until Tuesday afternoon, when they will shift to southeasterly. As a result, if migration dies down in the next few days and the birds stop utilizing easterly winds, Tuesday night will be the night in which it resumes. So stay tuned!

Southern Illinois:
Ah the lucky Southern Illinoisans have not escaped the cold front today, as it has brought northeasterly winds pretty far south in that direction. This means that in most of the southernmost third of the Prairie State, conditions are the same as in Central Illinois--moderate migration concentrations being the rule. BUT--there's always a but--the furthest southern reaches of Illinois retain the southerly winds they experienced last night, and for that reason, counties like Union, Alexander, Pulaski, Massac, and Johnson are witness to heavy migration tonight. Heavy arrivals and influx are likely there tomorrow morning, so be armed and ready with binoculars if you can! Looking forward, southerly winds are forecast to continue in Southern Illinois, and will expand to include this entire third of the state by Monday evening. So it seems the birds will keep on coming!

There y'are folks! Wondering what birds you may see out there tomorrow? Take a gander at this here eBird chart.

That's all for now, folks. Au revoir, and happy birding!

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