Ted Floyd visited this blog and posted some very nice comments on Birdchat. Thank-you Ted for your nice "props". He does bring up a couple of good points. When seeing evidence of migratory movement on a radar image all you know is that birds are moving but Ted asked "Which birds?" I had an idea of what I would guess, but rather than just throw out a list I decided to check the listserves to which I subscribe to see if I could see any indication of what started showing up today in places like Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The reports suggest that the biggest movers into the area today are Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, Rusty Blackbirds, Killdeer and Eastern Bluebirds. I know that lots of species made up last nights flocks but I feel pretty good that a significant percentage here were probably the species listed above. This would be a typical list of early migrants for this area. Of course, if we were talking about Illinois and Indiana the species that would make up flocks in that area would be different, maybe swallows and some of the early sparrows for example. Here we would also be expecting big movements of waterfowl about now but many of our lakes are not yet open and the waterfowl tend to be concentrated along the Mississippi River which is open.
Ted's second point was about my statement that lots of places were "going to very birdy tomorrow". It is true that even with a big influx of birds they don't land everywhere in big concentrations. I've spent many mornings wondering where all the birds I saw on radar are and then I hear reports of big numbers just north or south of me. I guess my point was that these birds were going to land somewhere and if you were lucky enough to be in one of those places you would see an obvious change overnight. Here in the Twin Cities region the last two days have had lots of migrants both moving in and some of our wintering birds moving out. A couple of birders reported big flocks of Lapland Longspurs and Snow Buntings moving through.
This is the season that many birders live for. Every day is a chance to see a new "First of Year" bird. Every morning has the chance of containing a new song in the dawn chorus. All in all it is the time of year to just "be there and be aware".