May 2012 Highlights
by Mark Korducki
On the whole it was a rather lackluster spring migration. The advanced leaf out and lack of good low pressure fronts appeared to have caused the birds to head straight to their nesting grounds. There were few good warbler waves and many people complained of a lack of orioles at their feeders. In spite of this, some rare birds were found.
The month started with great promise. On the final Sunday in April a flycatcher was found in Milwaukee that turned out to be a Vermilion. It remained for the day and was photographed and enjoyed by several birders. On the same day, a Cinnamon Teal was found in Waukesha. This bird lingered for a few days. Another Cinnamon Teal was found later in the month in Adams. Cool temperatures were replaced by a major push of warm weather on May 2nd. Temperatures soared into the 80′s and a wave of passerine migrants followed. Unfortunately this was the only major fallout for most birders during the month. Finding 37 American Avocets in high breeding plumage in Milwaukee was one of the highlights of this front. Black-necked Stilts were found in Dane, Jefferson and Marquette. Unfortunately they don’t appear to be nesting in the Horicon Marsh this year. It was a rather quiet month for shorebirds but the Reeve found at the end of the WSO convention in Dane was enjoyed by many during its one day stay. Willets had a good showing at many lakefront and inland locations. Hudsonian Godwits showed up ahead of schedule and seemed to be above normal in occurrence. A few Red Knots were found in Racine. Laughing Gulls were found in Racine, Sheboygan and at Wisconsin Point in Superior. This latter location was very good on Memorial Day weekend with a Little Gull also seen along with Parasitic Jaegers, a probable Arctic Tern and a flock of Whimbrels. A Whimbrel in Dane was unusual inland.
A gorgeous Scissor-tailed Flycatcher remained for a few days in Waupaca. A Mississippi Kite was seen flying over Marquette Co. A Blue Grosbeak was a one day wonder in Milwaukee. The Prairie Warbler returned for the third consecutive year to the southern Kettle Morraine State Forest. Another was seen in Milwaukee. 2 Yellow-throated Warblers were also found in Milwaukee. Yellow-breasted Chats were found in Dane, Ozaukee, Kenosha and Waukesha. Good numbers of Kirtland’s Warblers returned to their nesting territory in Adams while others were found in Marinette and Bayfield. Summer Tanagers were hard to come by this year. Single birds were found in Dane and Ozaukee. A Chuck-wills-widow returned to the spot in Jackson County for the 8th consecutive year where this bird may be nesting. Another Chuck is on territory near Palmyra. Little Blue Herons were found in Grant and Rock. A Snowy Egret was observed in LaCrosse. A White-faced Ibis was found near LaCrosse and another probable one is being seen at the end of the month in the Horicon Marsh.
After the phenomenal spring migration we had last year, this year was a bit of a disappointment. However as you can see, many unusual birds were found during the month. Lets hope there are still a few undiscovered rarities to enjoy as we transition into summer.
Posted: June 2nd, 2012