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: Autumn 2015 IL Migration Report  ( 7511 )

Henry Griffin

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Re: Autumn 2015 IL Migration Report
« #45 : October 29, 2015, 06:36:04 PM »
For October 30, 2015:

Hello birding friends,

To view this report in blog format with imbedded images, please visit “Arrivals and Influxes:” ilmigration.blogspot.com

I have decided to only post reports in the months of August - October and April - May in order to keep my sanity. This means that this is the second-to-last report of the season. I'm sure all of you busy people out there can understand. :-)

Fall migration; however, does certainly not end with the conclusion of these reports tomorrow. In fact, many aspects of migration like, as we are seeing, winter finches, owls, and waterfowl are only just in their beginning stages. I will post a much more comprehensive analysis of the fall and what is to come this late autumn/winter season tomorrow night.

As for tonight, Illinois is seeing some rather strange migration levels. The northern third is seeing light migration, the central third has no migration over it, and the far southern third has light to moderate levels of migrants in its skies. This can all be seen on the current national composite radar (http://tempest.aos.wisc.edu/radar/us3comp.gif).

Hawk Watching Forecast: In northeast Illinois tomorrow, fairly good conditions will be prevailing for raptor migrations. Satisfactory viewing conditions - partly cloudy skies - coupled with southwest winds that will be pushing any migrating raptors towards the boundary of Lake Michigan's shoreline, may result in a nice push for raptors tomorrow at sites like Greene Valley, Fort Sheridan, and IBSP.

To find out exactly which species are in our area, please consult:
BirdCasts's regional migration forecast for this week: http://birdcast.info/forecast/regional-migration-forecast-23-30-october-2015/#MidwestNortheast
eBird's species occurrence chart for Illinois: http://ebird.org/ebird/GuideMe?src=changeDate&getLocations=states&states=US-IL&parentState=US-IL&reportType=location&monthRadio=on&bMonth=08&eMonth=11&bYear=1900&eYear=2015&continue.x=63&continue.y=9&continue=Continue

In summary, tomorrow should be a fairly productive day across the state for arrivals and influxes and also a fairly productive day for hawk watching, at least in the northeast corner of the state.

Good birding,

Henry (Oak Park, Cook County)

Henry Griffin

  • Sr. Member
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  • : 64
Re: Autumn 2015 IL Migration Report
« #46 : October 30, 2015, 09:52:20 PM »
Autumn Conclusion/Winter Outlook:

Hello birding friends,

This is a very long post.

To view this port in blog format with imbedded images, please visit “Arrivals and Influxes:” ilmigration.blogspot.com

Seems like this fall has gone by quickly so far! I do hope these migration reports have been as helpful as they were in the past! This is the final migration report of autumn 2015, and I have decided that - this being a trial season for me continuing the reports - I will indeed continue to write these next spring, with the "precursor" sent out in early March and consistent reports posted throughout April and May.

This report will be divided into three sections:
1) Forecast for tomorrow
2) Analysis for what has happened thus far this fall
3) Prediction for the rest of the fall/winter

Tonight, a huge rain system is moving into the state - which will sadly be dampening the conditions for Halloween. This means that little to no migration will be occurring tonight and rain pretty much all day tomorrow throughout the state will be limiting any birding opportunities, including hawk watching also. For anyone interested, the rain system can be viewed on the current national composite radar (http://tempest.aos.wisc.edu/radar/us3comp.gif).

Now, here is an analysis for exactly what has happened so far this far, from July all the way until now, in bullet-point list format:

Please note: I am sure I am missing some interesting birds and some of the details might be a day or two off, but I did the best I could!
Multiple Scissor-tailed Flycatcher sightings in the central and southern parts of the state in July
Magnificent Frigatebird seen by Josh Engel heading north over Fullerton on the lakefront in Chicago on July 8
Long-tailed Jaeger on Horseshoe Lake in mid-July
Piping Plover in Livingston on July 18
Violet-green Swallow at Montrose Point on July 22
Red Phalarope at Lake Mavaiseterre on July 27
Neotropic Cormorant seen at Emiquon in mid August
Red-necked Phalarope shows up at Maple Park on August 16
Royal Tern at Waukegan Beach on August 19
46 Hudsonian Godwits at Goofy Ridge on August 23
Swallow-tailed Kite seen in Effingham, then up to Champaign, starting August 23
Steve Huggins records 6000+ Common Nighthawks migrating on September 2
Harris' Sparrows start arriving September 30 (this may not have been first arrival, though)
First of the Pine Siskins are reported to be migrating in 1000+ numbers at the IBSP Hawk Watch
White-rumped Sandpiper "invasion" starts around October 3, this anomaly was caused by strange easterly winds prevailing this autumn
Mottled Duck at Hazlet State Park on October 4
Bullock's Oriole is photographed in River Forest, a suburb of Chicago, on October 14
First Northern Saw-whet Owl of the Saw Whet Surveys is recorded at IBSP on Oct 15
Spotted Towhee at Greene Valley Forest Preserve on October 17
Little Gull & Red-necked Grebes found at Lake Shelbyville on October 18
First Snowy Owl of the season is reported in LaSalle County on October 21, very early
Red Crossbill seen in Centennial Park in Springfield, first possible migrant (i.e. not a Sand Ridge SF bird)
Pacific Loon seen on Lake Springfield on October 26
It has certainly been an interesting fall! One of the most interesting parts for me was seeing all of the reports of White-rumped Sandpipers across the state because of the predominating easterly (!) winds blowing them off of their usual migratory trajectories.


This coming week, southwesterly wind flow will predominate over the state - meaning that nocturnal migration will be limited; however, this is conducive for typical late-season vagrants from the southwest. Cave Swallow, Ash-throated Flycatcher, and Franklin's Gull come to mind. Keep your eyes open!

Waterfowl: November is THE month for waterfowl migration! Starting anytime now and going through the entire month, I encourage birders all across the state to get out there and look for rarer species such as the Scoters and anything else that could be lurking in your local lake. Throughout the winter, whenever water is not frozen over, get out and admire those diving ducks - especially on Lake Michigan - while you can!

Falcons/Hawks: November is still a great month for raptors, but I would suggest that you try to go and watch these in the first or second weeks of the months because they will be slightly more productive (based on annual averages) and probably less cold.

Shorebirds: These species should continue to diminish in presence here in the state. Get out and go see any of the remaining White-rumped Sandpipers while you still can - as I said, it is quite a treat to have so many this fall!

Gulls: These have already started arriving and I would highly suggest scouting out North Point Marina, Lake County Fairgrounds, and any other renowned sites (especially near Lake Michigan) for our more uncommon colder-month gull species starting to appear around now!

Snowy Owls: With the recent high numbers of sightings in Wisconsin as well as a smattering from Illinois, I have reasons to believe that this winter could be another "echo" Snowy irruption, so be on the lookout for these beauties whenever you are in grassland, agricultural, or other open habitats from now until late February or so. These typically come into the state in greater numbers starting the third week of November, and even more so starting the first week of December. These owls usually are found throughout the winter here in Illinois and some have been known to stay as late as April in extreme cases!

Red-breasted Nuthatch: Always a few of these are seen every winter, but this season is not expected to be a great one to see these cuties.

Bohemian Waxwing: There is a chance a few individuals of this species could end up in Illinois this winter, given a predicted overall southward an eastward movement from the Boreal Forest.

Please visit the Winter Finch Forecast for more details: http://www.jeaniron.ca/2015/forecast15.htm

Based on the winter finch forecast and other sources, here are my predictions on a 10-point scale of how likely an irruption (many individuals of the species) of the particular species into Illinois is this winter. 10/10 is obviously most likely with 0/10 being no chance at all.

Pine Grosbeak: 1/10
Purple Finch: 10/10
Red Crossbill: 6/10
White-winged Crossbill: 4/10
Common Redpoll: 9/10
Hoary Redpoll: 1/10
Pine Siskin: 10/10
Evening Grosbeak: 2/10

Your best bet for seeing winter finches are birding at stands of conifers, as well as filling your thistle feeders (for siskins and redpolls) and your sunflower seed feeders (for basically everything else).

Until next March, folks, I will be posting sporadically about any Illinois birding I do (I am going out into my backyard to make sure there are no rogue Saw-whet Owls right after I post this - I kid you not!). Always feel free to reply to this email or contact me at trumpetswan@comcast.net

Happy birding!

Henry (Oak Park, Cook County)


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