April 28, 2010
Dr. David Aborn

Dear Students:

It was another good week for fallouts. That storm system that brought the terrible weather to many people across the country also forced many birds to land. In Galveston, TX, 350 Dickssels were seen, and an observer reported swallows passing by at the rate of 150 per minute! At nearby High Island, researchers at the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory reported hundreds of Blue Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings, and Painted Buntings, along with 32 species of warblers! The scene was similar along the southwest coast of Louisiana.

The storm system arrived in Tennessee on Saturday, and a birder in Memphis
went out after the storm passed and saw hundreds of Indigo Buntings, Blue Grosbeaks, and Eastern Kingbirds. By Sunday, the system had reached the east
coast. On Monday, April 26, at Cape May, NJ (one of the best places in the country to be during both spring and fall migration) people tallied 50 Gray Catbirds, 30 House Wrens, and over 200 Yellow-rumped Warblers!!!

Once the system passed, the strong north winds behind it have kept migrants grounded for a while. Before the system arrived, however, there was good flying weather, and migrants were able to make some progress. In New Hampshire, the first Eastern Kingbirds, Wood Thrushes, and Louisiana Waterthrushes showed up, while Nebraska had its first Warbling Vireo, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Cliff Swallows, and the first Western Kingbirds and Indigo Buntings showed up in Kansas.

Farther west, they have had southerly winds most of the week, so migrants
have been cruising along. People in Arizona and New Mexico have been seeing
good numbers of Ash-throated Flycatchers, Yellow Warblers, Bullock's Orioles, Western Kingbirds, and Western Tanagers. Nevada has seen an influx of flycatchers (Ash-throated, Gray, Hammond's); vireos (Plumbeous, Cassin's, Bell's); Scott's Orioles; and Western Kingbirds. Wilson's Warblers, Orange-crowned Warblers, Nashville Warblers, and Western Kingbirds have shown up in Colorado and Washington.

What Does This Week’s Weather Mean for Migration?
The coming week could be another good one:

  • Yet another storm system is starting to move across the country. It will affect the western and central US over the next few days, and could provide for some more fallouts, especially along the Gulf Coast and in the Midwest.
  • The southeast and eastern US can expect to get hit over the weekend. Until that system arrives in a given area, the winds will be southerly and skies will be clear, so people in the northern part of the country should be on the lookout for new arrivals!

Try It: A BioBlitz
Friday and Saturday I will be participating in the 3rd annual BioBlitz here in Chattanooga. A BioBlitz is an intense 24-hour survey of all the biodiversity in an area; everything from birds and mammals to mosses and fungi. The very first BioBlitz was held in 2003 at Central Park in New York City, and they discovered a completely new species of centipede! You never know what you will find until you start looking! Maybe some of you could have a BioBlitz at your school.

Spring migration is almost at its peak here, so it should be a fun time, and I will let you know what I find!

Take Care,

David Aborn
North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy
Chattanooga, TN

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