Saturday, May 10, 2014

May 10th, 2014

Tonight's winds
Hey everybody!

Last night's (5/9)
Sorry I missed you all last night. It wasn't the biggest night of migration anyways; the high pressure system predicted to ram right through the center of the state did just that. This confused and weakened the winds considerably and brought in some precipitation as well, so migration was only light to moderate. Today was still a fantastic day to bird...warblers, vireos, thrushes, sparrows, and all manner of mid- to late spring migrants are getting into the full swing of their migration, and species counts right now are about as full as they're going to get. That gets me excited, and I envy you who had the opportunity to bird today. It sounds like it was amazing in some places!

Anyhow, onward to tonight. The state of Illinois is now safely back into the realm of definite southerly winds, as we're in an area of the atmosphere right in the backside of a high pressure system, and the frontside of a low pressure system. Both of these circumstances give us southerly flow, and tonight, it's southwesterly, which is slightly less favorable, but favorable enough to get the birds moving. As mentioned though, precipitation is moving through certain parts of the Prairie State, so let's take a look at that by region. A particularly interesting circumstance has developed in Southern Illinois as a result.

Northern Illinois:
Migration in NW IL
Winds are a little bit weaker in Northern Illinois right now, but at least along the lake in northeastern Illinois, the skies are hopping with birds. Moderate to heavy migration is currently occurring over northeastern Illinois. Likely because the storm moving into Central Illinois is just south of NW IL is eclipsing migration, the story is slightly different in northwestern Illinois, where light to moderate migration is taking place. Chances are, migration will pick up there as the night goes on, so if you're up late, ya might as well check the radar and find out (if you'll be birding in NW IL tomorrow). Looking forward, the wind forecast remains to be pretty good to N IL, with the overall trend being favorable southerly winds at least until Monday evening. We'll keep our eyes out for what comes next.

Migration in Central IL
Central Illinois:
Looking first at the radar, we see that Central Illinois is the unlucky section of the state to receive the worst (or most energetic) storms of the night. The system moving in is large enough to cover most of this third of the state, and will basically shut down migration as long as it takes to move through. Places in the far eastern end of Central Illinois will probably see some influx tomorrow, as migration is moderate away from the storm. Also, if you're in that section of the state, be on the lookout for fallout if the storm begins moving into your area early tomorrow morning, as the birds will be forced to land in the approaching storm. Overall, tonight will not see a huge amount of migration in Central Illinois. Looking forward, the forecast is the same in Central as it is in Northern Illinois, and is just as good. Southerly winds are forecast to continue at least until Monday evening, and birds will follow as long as they flow.

Southern Illinois:
Heavy migration just south of
Central Illinois' storm
Though some areas will probably be affected by the storm activity in Central Illinois, Southern Illinois is witness to an explosion of heavy migration tonight. Anywhere you look with the radar (SW IL, S-central IL, SE IL), migration is heavy, and those migrants will likely be flying right into the storms of Central Illinois. Not necessarily good for them, but this is exciting news for some. Looking at the national composite radar, if you will be birding anywhere along the southern border of Central Illinois's storm tomorrow, you may find some insane arrivals and influxes in migrant traps, which could be your favorite local birding spots. As migrants fly full speed ahead into the storm in Central Illinois tonight, they will be forced to the ground in the inclement conditions aloft, and will be forced to wait it out there. If the storm takes long enough to move east, birds may be forced to wait all the way through the night, and an excitingly large number of those birds will simply be there as the sun rises. Influx will probably be excitingly substantial all over Southern Illinois tomorrow, but this boundary will probably be some of the best birding in the state if this prediction plays out. This all depends on the movement of that storm tonight, so I would love for you to get out there and prove or disprove this prediction! Like Central and Northern Illinois, winds are forecast to remain favorably southerly in Southern Illinois at least through Monday evening, so there can't be a bad time to bird for migrants!

Awesome! Interesting stuff happening tonight...I'll be interested to hear what happens tomorrow. Predict what you'll find here.

That's all for tonight, folks! Over and out.

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