Thursday, April 14, 2016

Lots of migrants around- and a good night to watch for them leaving on radar

Judging from reports from City Park, and my own incidental observations around town, there are a lot of passage migrants hanging around the city now- presumably forced to stop over for a few days due to the rain impeding their progress.  In my back yard late this AM, I was treated simultaneously to the chatter of an Orchard Oriole, the lazy phrases of a Red-eyed Vireo, and the spunky chip weebee weedoo chip of a White-eyed Vireo.  Two Blue-winged Teal have been hanging in the flooded roadside ditch by my kids' school, where there were also a couple Solitary Sandpipers yesterday.  Lots of Barn Swallows zipping around lawns here and there, too many to be just the local breeders.

Since the rain has now abated, and winds are easterly and thus no longer oppose northward movement, it is likely that lots of  migrants will depart shortly after sundown.  If so, they are likely to be visible on radar ( is a good site for viewing such departures), or audible as flight notes in the sky overhead immediately after dark.  Sometimes a pulse of flight calls overhead seems to happen in spring around 9 pm as well, which I presume is the overhead passage of the concentration of migrants originating on the immediate Gulf Coast.

Migration is so cool!


Update next day:

The exodus was not as large as I anticipated- perhaps the migrants could detect the rain bands north of the lake at sunset, and chose not to take flight.  However, some departure still appears evident on the images below- see how the dark blue blob (apparent departing birds) starts south of the Lake at 9 pm and is gone (actually gradually shifting northward across the lake to merge with/replace the echoes there) three hours later.

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