Spring Migration 2018 Is Upon Us

May 8, 2018

Louisiana Waterthrush - Logan Township, Mason County


There is no way around it, it has been a long spring.  April brought cold temperatures and uncharacteristic snowfall to the region, causing delays in the arrival of many of our spring migrants. Fortunately, the weather has warmed and the birding has been hot.  Most birding reports that we receive come via Dave Dister, who aggregates bird sightings from an assortment of birders in Mason and Oceana Counties.  The last couple of days have been very exciting!  To quote a few of Dave's reports:


On May 2, 2018 "I added at least 19 new year birds, 9 of which were at Ludington State Park: Spotted Sandpiper, Common Tern (3), Marsh Wren (2), Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Ovenbird, Yellow Warbler, Clay-colored Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, and Baltimore Oriole (2). Seven of the others were in Logan Township in the afternoon: Osprey (with a fish), Least Flycatcher (3), Great Crested Flycatcher, Louisiana Waterthrush (singing), Cerulean Warbler (singing), Black-throated Green Warbler, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. And the last three were in Grant East Township in the early evening: Rough-winged Swallow (2), Wood Thrush, and Northern Waterthrush."


 Common and Caspian Terns - Ludington State Park


He shares "Also of interest, yesterday Bob and Sharon found two Swainson's Thrushes at Ludington SP, which is a new arrival date by 7 days; while Kim and Maggie heard an Eastern Wood-Pewee singing yesterday at dusk, which is a new arrival date by 7 days. And Levi reports a Yellow-throated Vireo (new arrival by 1 or 2 days) and a Nashville Warbler, plus at least 3 Snowy Owls along Townline Road today, which is a late departure by 1 day (and counting)." 


One of the more interesting spring visitors has been the discovery of the black-necked stilt at Freeman Rd. Pond.  Discovered by Chuck and Linda on April 10, 2018, this rare visitor to the west side of Michigan stuck around for a few days and let many of the area's birders get a nice view.  No doubt this was a life bird for a some of the area's birding enthusiasts.  Unfortunately, I wasn't one of them.  The BNST had enough sense to move along prior to the sleet and snow that had arrived when I visited the pond.


Black-necked Stilt - Freeman Road Pond


Dave also reminded that we should always double check what we think we see.  While birding at Ludington State Park on April 13, 2018, "I saw a white blob in the trees along the south edge of the Big Sable River east of the M116 bridge. I figured it was yet again another plastic bag, but instead was a Great Egret in a rather odd setting."  Indeed!  Fortunately, the GREG stuck around for a while and multiple park staff and birders were able to see it. Thanks for the heads-up, Dave!


Great Egret - Ludington State Park


I'm sure that we'll have a lot more sightings to report in the near future.  Please share your birding reports with me at sabledunesaudubon@gmail.com


Good Birding!



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