April 16th - 30th, 2011

Scarlet Tanager

It was a busy second half of April at the Point and lots of migrants moved through the area from the 16th - 30th, including a dramatic influx of birds towards the end of the month. In keeping with the time of year, a nice variety of 'temperate' migrants were on hand mid-month, including twelve sparrow spp., followed by a steadily increasing number of long-distance 'neotropical' migrants such as the swallows and swifts, grosbeaks and tanagers, and a nice mix of warblers. It was also active on the lake, with large numbers of gulls, cormorants, and waterfowl recorded on a daily basis, along with good numbers of other waterbirds. Although the coverage effort was affected by numerous thunderstorms and lots of rain, it was one of our busiest late-Aprils on record.

The weather from April 16th - 20th left a lot to be desired, including a mix of rain, sleet, snow, and gale force winds, but a variety of species were recorded in good numbers including 750 Red-breasted Mergansers (April 16th), 265 scaup (17th), and 260 Bonaparte's Gulls (19th). Other waterfowl seen during this time included Hooded Merganser, hundreds of Buffleheads, and six Ruddy Ducks on April 19th. Songbirds were recorded in moderate numbers, although Tree and Barn Swallows were active (a mixed flock of 125 birds was counted on the 17th), along with smaller numbers of a variety of other species including both members of the kinglet family, robins, Hermit Thrush, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and White-throated Sparrow.

Strong winds from the northwest and three days of rain produced a lull in activity during the third week of April, although new arrivals continued to appear including 2 Pine Warblers on the 21st, and the season's first Yellow Warbler and House Wrens on the 22nd and 23rd, respectively. A singing Sedge Wren was discovered at Fox Pond on April 23rd. More than 1000 ducks were recorded at the tip on April 24th - mostly Red-breasted Mergansers and hundreds of scaup and Bufflehead - along with a variety of other migrants including Common Loon and Horned Grebe.

Another full day of rain on April 25th was followed by a dramatic fallout of birds on the morning of the 26th that produced one of the busiest April mornings at the station in eight years. Seventy-one species were recorded during the official count period along with thirty birds banded of eleven species in forty-five net-hours. While not many birds were captured, the netting area was active with a range of species including Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, Yellow-rumped Warbler and White-throated Sparrow, among others. Just five warblers species were noted on the day, but lots of other migrants appeared including spring 'firsts' for Chimney Swift, Eastern Kingbird, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Baltimore Oriole, among others. Eleven sparrow species were recorded on the 26th including 105 White-throats, 64 Chipping Sparrows, and a single Grasshopper Sparrow.

Eight warbler species were tallied the following day along with 'firsts' for Sora, Veery and Gray Catbird. An early Acadian Flycatcher and a Northern Mockingbird were also recorded on the 27th. Gale force winds from the west made for a quieter morning on April 28th, and there wasn't much to report during the final two days of April with the exception of the first Indigo Bunting of the spring (April 29th), and two Tundra Swans at the tip on the 30th.

PIBO's next migration summary will be posted on May 12th.

Photo: Sumiko Onishi