Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 28th, 2015 (+ 4/27 summary)

Radar from 4/27
Evening everyone,

First of all, I apologize for the absence of a report last night. Luckily, very little was moving over Illinois to be reported on in the first place. Hardly light concentrations showed up on the radar, appearing mostly in northern and southwestern Illinois. While little was migrating last night, shorebird movement along Lake Michigan was undoubtedly one of today's highlights. American Avocet in particular showed a notable movement today, with individuals appearing on beaches of both Cook and Lake Counties.
Tonight's radar.

With that, let's move on to tonight. The story is slightly different tonight: while last night Northern Illinois saw the densest migration in the state, tonight it has shifted down southward. The reason for this? The Prairie State as a whole is dominated by northeasterly headwinds, but these winds have become notably weaker in Illinois' southern third. For this reason, eager-to-migrate birds are flying aloft at light to moderate concentrations there. Depending on how long these winds stay weak, there may be some apparent arrivals and influxes in Southern Illinois tomorrow. 

Tonight's winds. Click to view live.
But alas, the big cover story is still about how winds will set the stage for a grand weekend of birding. Tomorrow night, winds are forecast to be northerly in most places except the western half of the state. In these places, weak easterly winds will prevail, which may permit more migration. This brings us to Friday night. Friday night is looking up to be the opening of a door for spring migration of a larger magnitude. With the exception (there always seem to be exceptions) of some eastern portions of Illinois, winds are forecast to be southerly. Better yet is the forecast for Saturday night, predicting stronger, southerly based tailwinds for migrants to seize. SO, it looks like Saturday and Sunday mornings should make for some fine birding, perhaps with Sunday being the highlight of the two.

If you're looking ahead to what you'll find this weekend, or what's out there now, check out this eBird page or the latest BirdCast Migration Forecast.

That's all for tonight, folks! Until tomorrow, I bid you all adieu (shout-out to Beau Schaefer).

Winds forecast for Friday night. Note that southerly winds are distributed in a western portion of the state, while winds
are extremely weak in southeastern and much of Central Illinois. Strictly speaking, there are no headwinds in the
forecast. For that reason, given the migratory restlessness felt by birds at this time of year, this forecast may mean
moderate to heavy concentrations of migration throughout the Prairie State.

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