April 1, 2008
Dr. David Aborn

Dear Students:

Well, it is no fooling that this weekend brought some of the first fallouts to many places. The front I talked about last week stalled, which allowed it to pick up moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. As a result, it brought heavy rains across much of the country. That meant that any birds arriving from the tropics encountered bad weather, forcing them to land.

New Arrivals and Big Variety in the South
At High Island, TX, birders saw the first Worm-eating Warblers Blue-winged Warblers, and Yellow-billed Cuckoos of the year, along with Orchard Orioles, Hooded Warblers, Wilson's Warblers, Red-eyed Vireos, and Summer Tanagers. Next door in Louisiana at Grande Isle, one birder saw 65 White-eyed Vireos, 25 Red-eyed Vireos, 12 Yellow-throated Vireos, 15 Orchard Orioles, and 6 Scarlet Tanagers. On Dauphin Island, AL, there was a flood of Eastern Kingbirds, along with many White-eyed and Red-eyed Vireos, and the first Indigo Bunting of the year.

Influx and Fun Finds in the North and Midwest
Once that front finally moved on, the winds behind it were not very strong and quickly shifted around to the south, which allowed birds to move north again pretty quickly. The Washington, DC area had a nice influx of migrants Sunday and Monday, and West Virginia had its first Purple Martins. A lone Tree Swallow even made it as far as Maine! Here in Tennessee, I heard my first Black-throated-green Warbler of the spring, and someone else reported a Blue-headed Vireo. The Midwest is also seeing their first migrants as well, with Tree Swallows and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers in Kansas, and a Louisiana Waterthrush in Indiana.

Good Birding Out West
It was a good weekend out west, too. In Arizona, many Yellow Warblers and Orange-crowned Warblers were seen, along with Bell's, Plumbeous, and Cassin's Vireos, Gray Flycatchers, and Bullock's Orioles. New Mexico had many Cliff Swallows, as well as Bell's and Cassin's Vireos, Yellow, Orange-crowned, and Lucy's Warblers, and Scott's Orioles. Finally, in California, there were many Rufus Hummingbirds, as well as the first Black-headed Grosbeaks, McGillivray's Warblers, and Hooded Orioles.

What to Expect This Week
So, what does this week look like? Take a look at the weather map:

  • The low-pressure area you see is expected to develop into a pretty strong storm system. It will be bringing lots of heavy rain in the Midwest, south, and eastern US Friday and Saturday. This will keep migrants grounded, and could create some more fallouts.
  • Once the systems move out, there really aren't any northerly winds to slow migrants down, so they should be able to take off again. That means that by early next week, more northerly areas should see an influx of migrants and a new wave of migrants should arrive from the tropics.

Spring migration is in full swing and there is a lot to see and more to come!

Take Care.

David Aborn
North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy
Chattanooga, TN