Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sure Got Cold After the Rain Fell.

Well, the nice weather that had been hanging around Chicago was replaced by a fairly nasty cold front. We went from 90 degrees in some places to overnight lows in the 40s. We ended up with a very wet Ovenbird in our front yard, and the birding has been decent right in the neighborhood. We're up to 37 species for our yard list. We even added a new "garage bird" -- a Northern Waterthrush that was running around in our parking garage at about 5:00 on Sunday morning.

Things have stabilized a bit and there have still been a decent number of birds around this week, especially in light of the north winds. We tend to think that these have been lingering birds that were forced lower to the ground because of the weather, as opposed to new migrants that experienced a bit of a fallout, but there's really no way to be sure.

Anyway, this weekend could be gangbusters. Almost all of the warblers we have been seeing are still adult males. Flycatchers aren't really in yet, and we're not seeing to many of the later-arriving warblers yet, either. That means we probably have at least two really good weeks of migration left, and with a relatively early Memorial Day this year, that could be a really great three-day weekend. The weather is going to warm up and it looks like either Saturday or Monday will be the top day of the year.

Overall, most of the people we talk to seem to think that this has been a pretty nice spring migration so far, although it has been really variable depending on how far you are from the lakefront. The key point is that there are still a lot of birds left to be seen. There were still some nice numbers of migrants in Florida this week, so the best is yet to come.