Dr. David Aborn
Well, it looks like we may have had our last big fallout of the
spring this week, which is good because things have been pretty
slow in many places. With southerly winds, birds have been able
to make good progress flying north. Around here, I saw my first
Baltimore Oriole, Indigo Buntings, Kentucky Warbler, Wood
Thrushes, Yellow-breasted Chats, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Eastern
Gray Catbird, Chestnut-sided Warblers, Blackpoll Warblers, Blue-winged
Warblers, and Yellow Warblers. Numbers of each were not very high,
but it is still a nice assortment! The Ohio Valley did pretty well,
with Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia all recording their
first Scarlet Tanagers, Baltimore Orioles, Yellow Warblers,
Blue-winged Warblers, Hooded Warblers, Ovenbirds, American Redstarts,
Kingbirds, Great-crested Flycatchers, Wood Thrushes, and Gray Catbirds. Still farther north, birders in Maine spotted Nashville
Warblers, Black-throated-blue Warblers, and Black-and-white Warblers, while
Minnesota had their first Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Blue-headed Vireos,
Black-throated green Warblers, Ovenbirds, Orange-crowned Warblers,
and Northern Waterthrushes.
Last Big Gulf Coast Fallout?
Then came April 26th. Birding along the Gulf coast had been slow
until that day, when a strong cold front arrived right around the
time migrants were arriving from the tropics. The storms forced
birds to land along the Texas coast in large numbers. One of the
best places to see migrants is High Island, Texas. Birders went
out there after the weather cleared and counted 28 species of warblers!
They reported large numbers of Bay-breasted Warblers and Blackpoll
Warblers, as well as Indigo Buntings and Rose-breasted
Grosbeaks. Other places along the Gulf coast did not report any fallouts.
It is possible that the winds were coming out of the Northeast,
which would push the birds towards the West.
Slow in the West
Speaking of the west, it was another slow week, although when the
storm system I just mentioned was in the western US, it did create
a small fallout in Arizona, where a scattering of Black-throated-gray
Warblers, Grace's Warblers, Wilson's warblers, and Nashville Warblers were seen in Arizona. Like the eastern US, the southerly winds
for most of the week have allowed migrants to make it to some of
the more northerly western states.
Idaho reported hundreds of swallows (mostly Tree Swallows), and
their first Vaux's Swifts, while Washington also had many swallows, along with Black throated-gray Warblers, Common Yellowthroats,
and Cassin's Vireos.