Statewide Birding Report - April 12, 2018

Migration was limited most of the week, although Wednesday night brought a wave of new migrants to far southern Wisconsin. Shorebirds made a splash with increasing numbers of greater and lesser yellowlegs, a few pectoral, Baird's, and least sandpipers, a dunlin, and the first spotted sandpipers. Savannah, vesper, chipping, and white-throated sparrows are also becoming more common. Dark-eyed juncos remain numerous in the south and central while the north eagerly awaits their passage to come soon. Other arrivals in the south, albeit in small numbers so far, include purple martin, barn swallow, and northern rough-winged swallow, yellow-bellied sapsucker, rusty blackbird, black-crowned night-heron, brown-headed cowbird, and both pine and palm warbler. Hummingbirds are no farther north than extreme southern Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky - look for their arrival here in the last week of April across southern counties and the second week of May up north.

Loons and other waterbirds continue to stack up south of Wausau and Green Bay where water bodies are ice free. Large numbers of common goldeneyes, red-breasted mergansers, and bufflehead were reported along some portions of Lake Michigan. Raptor migration has been excellent the past few days with many red-tailed hawks, turkey vultures, sharp-shinned hawks, and bald eagles moving north, a few golden eagles, red-shouldered hawks, and ospreys among them. Snowy owls, rough-legged hawks, northern shrikes, and common redpolls remain in good numbers beyond their typical migration schedules. Meanwhile, mourning doves and red crossbills have fledged young already, hooded mergansers and wood ducks have begun egg laying, turkeys are gobbling and displaying statewide, and pine siskins were observed carrying nest material this week.

Some of this week's rarities included Eurasian wigeon in Fond du Lac County, cattle egret in Grant, Franklin's gulls in various southern counties, and continuing Townsend's solitaire in Dane. This weekend does not look conducive for migration but things should pick up again mid-next week with lighter winds and warming temperatures. As always, track migration progress by species at http://bit.ly/2oznJKK and put your sightings on the map by submitting them to www.ebird.org/wi. Good birding! - Ryan Brady, conservation biologist, Ashland

 

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