March 31, 2010
Dr. David Aborn

Dear Students:

Well, migration was slower than I had predicted for this week. The northerly winds and rain lasted longer than I thought. Thus, there was not much movement this week, and most birds were confined to the Gulf coast. Texas had its first Painted Bunting, as well as a few White-eyed Vireos and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. From Louisiana to Alabama, diversity was good even if numbers were low. Prothonotary Warblers, Hooded Warblers, Red-eyed, White-eyed, Yellow-throated, and Blue-headed Vireos, Black-and-white Warblers, Black-throated-green Warblers, Indigo Buntings, and the first Eastern Kingbirds were all seen.

By Sunday and Monday, winds had shifted to the south, and some migrants have made it farther north. Parts of South Carolina reported many Northern Parulas, and birders in Washington, DC saw their first Yellow-throated Warblers, Louisiana Waterthrushes, and swallows. At my study site this morning I saw my first Blue-gray Gnatcatchers of the spring.

Despite southerly winds for much of the week, I did not receive many reports from out west. California did have another big influx of swallows and Nevada has migrants starting to show up. In addition to several swallow species, they had Orange-crowned Warblers and Lucy's Warblers.

What Does This Week’s Weather Mean for Migration?
I think this week will be much different. Look at the weather map and see:

  • Much of the country has clear skies and southerly winds. That means migrants will be able to arrive from the tropics without any difficulties, and those that are here can make some progress north. I expect to receive widespread reports of new species showing up in some places, and bigger numbers of species that have already been showing up.
  • The next front is moving in off the west coast, so there won't be much movement for a couple of days. By later this week, conditions will be better for birds to arrive out there.
  • By that time, rainy weather will be in the central US and Gulf Coast. It could make for some of the first decent fallouts.

It looks like a good week to be outside, so get out there and enjoy it!

David Aborn
North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy
Chattanooga, TN