This unseasonably warm weather has birders, and birds, thinking ahead to the upcoming peak of migration in May. Several early arrivals have been noted in recent days, which is not surprising given the weather.
The forecast for the next few days involves even warmer temps and a stiff southerly breeze, which should mean more early birds and perhaps a few overshoots.
Here are some ideas:
- Swainson's Warbler (learn the song if you don't already, and distinguish it vocally and visually from the waterthrushes)
- Prothonotary Warbler (one each already in NY and MA)
- Yellow-throated Warbler, Summer Tanager, Blue Grosbeak, and early Indigo Bunting
- Swallow-tailed Kite (already a handful of overshoots as close as northern New Jersey)
- Wilson's Plover
- Black-necked Stilt
- Loggerhead Shrike
Another possibility may be Anhinga, but this is one of the more under-appreciated ID problems out there. Single northbound DC Cormorants are often seen soaring high in the sky at this time of year, prompting false Anhinga claims. Many birders are not used to seeing a lone cormorant in full soar with tail spread wide.
Overshoots are not the only unusual birds that can be found in April:
- Fieldfare or Redwing (still not too late! check the robin flocks!)
- Little Gull, or if you're really lucky...Ross's Gull
- Bar-tailed or Black-tailed Godwit
- White-faced Ibis
- Smith's Longspur
Well there are some ideas. Some are likely, such as Little Gull...while others are quite a reach, i.e. Fieldfare. Whether you enjoy the prospect of rarities or the idea of seeing the first colorful spring passerines, you'll probably enjoy being out birding this week.