Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May 6th, 2014

Hey everyone!

Tonight is a night in which the surface analysis could deceive us. Looking at it now, we see an alternating front of north-facing warm, and south-facing blue; this is a stationary front. The cold air mass forecast to have been pushed northward by the low pressure system mentioned yesterday is putting up a good fight, and as a result southerly winds are expanding through the Prairie State a little more slowly than expected. The winds are still predominantly easterly in Central and Northern Illinois. No matter, as the birds are moving in legitimate concentrations already throughout the state. Let's take a look:

Northern Illinois:
The northern third of our state is experiencing the lightest migration of anywhere in the state, but by no means does this mean no birds are moving. Moderate concentrations of birds are migrating aloft right now (radar for NW IL, NE IL). These concentrations are likely to increase toward the middle of the night, as it appears that the air mass on top of us will finally give way to southerly winds through the night. Interestingly, they are doing so without the diagonal orientation they used to ride the easterly winds last night. Regardless, even where winds are least favorable throughout the state, birds are flying northward with gusto. How about the next few days? Good news, folks! Favorable southerly winds should be the rule throughout the state by tomorrow morning, and these winds are forecast to last at least through Thursday evening, though they will probably last longer. So get out there! Tomorrow should see some arrivals and influxes, and day migrants will not be excluded from this. Chimney Swifts, raptors, terns, shorebirds, and waterfowl should all be on the wing...it just takes you to find them! Good stuff.
Migration over Central IL. Bird concentrations reflecting
more than 20 decibels qualifies as heavy migration.

Central Illinois:
The central third of the Prairie State, while still in the influence of predominantly easterly winds, is also experiencing the oncoming influence of southerly winds, brought in by a warm front from the south. For that reason, concentrations of birds aloft are in the heavy category, with approximately 227-1788 birds per cubic kilometer. Awesome, eh? Tomorrow morning should be great for birding as warm temps from the south arrive with new birds. And it only gets better. By tomorrow morning, winds should be southerly throughout the state, and these winds are forecast to be strong and due from the south in Central IL. These winds are forecast last at least through Thursday, and will probably last longer than that, so get out there! As I mentioned in the Northern Illinois section, day migrants are not excluded from this, so influx of migrants should be very interesting in you local patches as diurnal migrants pass through a new cast of nocturnal migrants. An interesting time to observe behavior indeed.

Southern Illinois:
Wind forecast showing strong, southerly flow for tomorrow
This is probably the simplest section of the report, as the story here remains the same! Southern Illinois is, has been, and will remain awesome for migrant birds. The southerly winds experienced there for the past few days are again facilitating heavy migration tonight (radar for SW IL, S-central IL, and SE IL), and they will likely do the same at least through Thursday, when the wind forecast I use stops. It is likely, however, that the favorable conditions and they heavy migration they bring will last longer than that. Diurnal migrants will also continue to be moving, so migrant influx in your favorite patches should be very interesting indeed. So get out and enjoy the opportunity to bird in springtime Southern Illinois!

Awesome. Tonight's turning out to be a good night! Predict the birds you'll be finding here.

That's all for tonight, folks! Godspeed in your birding endeavors.

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