No casualties yet, but I’m up to the 3rd trapped bird of the new year: a Song Sparrow in the northwest alcove. This one was stunned – or exhausted – but before I could get any closer than about 3m it flew away strongly – good sign!
This bird was likely riding a wave of migration that really lit up the radar last night (as linked from Paul Hurtado’s birding page). Check out the big blue blobs in Oklahoma from a little after 11 pm last night:
Keep your eye on that slug of rain and storms (the green, yellow, and red) in the OK Panhandle, though.
Now check out the line of rain and storms that moved in overnight and set up shop on the Kansas border. This is from a bit before 6:00 am, and nobody moving north through our state kept on moving through that! This is a classic setup for a “fallout” of birds. More storms today followed by strong north winds tomorrow will likely keep some staging migrants around for a few more days.
Yesterday’s powerful cold front gave us this morning’s Octoberish morning, and a big flight of migrants last night. Check out this explosion of migrants in the Plains from around 10:30 last night:
At least one of those migrants, a HY-U (prob female) Yellow Warbler, made it no farther than Stillwater last night. She was in great shape with fat = 2.
On the heels of an unusually powerful cold front – with temps struggling to the 70s! today – the Noble Research Center claimed its first real fall migrant this morning, in a HY-U Mourning Warbler. This is the 7th Mourning Warbler on the project. This bird was young but it was in excellent shape and bulging with fat (scored a 3). (Apologies for the non-standard photography.)
Here’s last night’s flight on radar. Birds were on the move both ahead of and behind the storm.
Around 10:00 pm last night: Here’s the storm bearing down on us ~ 4:00 am:
Well, our first decent flight for spring developed overnight, and here’s how the birds looked on radar a little after 2:00 am:
Those signatures suggested to me that there was a high likelihood that some unfortunate traveler had met its end at the Noble Research Center. I was half-right: I found a Song Sparrow at the North Entrance – continuing the odd examples of birds on the “wrong” side of the building for the prevailing direction of migration. This is the first example of any bird seeming in the slightest distress around the building since last October. In this case, however, I can’t even consider the bird to have been trapped. I found it in the vegetation right next to the windows on the east side of the North Entrance, where it was fluttering around and actively chimp!-ing. I even watched it bump into the window before turning tail and perching in a tree at the seating area. I managed just this shot before the bird took off, up and over the building heading southeast.
So we were close to our first casualty for 2015, but I won’t even count this bird as trapped.
Pretty good flight last night in the Southeast, but those birds hit a wall in the Mid-Atlantic:
Right now we’ve got a pretty powerful system along the Texas Coast – could be in for a fallout tomorrow afternoon – but things look clear tonight in the Plains for a big push of northbound migrants.
Radar source showing avian migrants.
Update from 7:45 am on 3/12: Yes indeed, there was a big flight in the central US last night!
Our first migrant of 2014 was this unfortunate Black-and-white Warbler. She’s female and I aged her as a second-year bird (molt limit was more obvious in direct light) with fat = 1. She was on the north side of the building though our winds were strong from the south yesterday and today.
There was a pretty good flight of migrants overnight behind storms that flared up in Kansas. Check out the stream of migrants in south Texas. Those will be coming through tonight, and might drop out as we’re expecting a powerful cold front to move through here.