species not recorded in the preceding February, and last dates for species that don’t remain into the summer. All Trumpeter Swan records (other than obvious duplicates) are listed, per the Michigan Bird Survey form request.
Spring weather was slow to arrive this year, and the cold winter left some extensive thawing to be done. The season actually began within the period, not at the tail end of February as in recent years. Throughout, the season progressed gradually, a welcome change from the abbreviated springs of late. This climate appeared to have the effect of slowing the progression of migration.
From a songbird point of view, Glenn Peterson described it well in writing that “Overall, it was a better spring for woodland migrants (read "warblers") than recent springs. Though the season seemed to start a bit late, there were good numbers of a spread of species. I suspect the cold start to late April- early May compressed the migrant movement.” For waterfowl, the late thaw meant short stays for the majority, and nearly no stay at all in the case of Canada Geese.
A impressive ten new all-time SBA peak counts were established, as well as three seasonal high counts. The Port Crescent Hawk Watch accounted for a fair share of the new peak counts, the most impressive of which was not for a raptor, but for Lapland Longspurs. Equally impressive was a new peak for Chimney Swift and Red-Necked Grebe. This later species occurred in numbers
and distribution that, as Dan Duso aptly doubts “...will ever be seen again...” This might be a fitting description for the mini Plegadis invasion experienced at Shiawassee NWR as well. Speaking of which, seven Michigan Review List species were reported, all having written details and/or photographs submitted to MBRC for consideration.
On the downside, Glenn Peterson once again expressed concern about the continued downward trend in migrating thrushes. He wrote “I can remember going out in mid-May and trying to get all five regular thrushes in one day, or one week-end. Usually the hunt came down to trying to turn up a Gray-cheeked. Now I can't get the five in a whole season.” Joe Soehnel and I discussed this, looking at potential for local influences due to habitat maturation, but overall the issue seems to be greater, (potentially habitat alterations on winter grounds?). What ever the cause, to Glenn, Joe, and I, the world is lesser for it. It points to the fact that subject of the birder’s quest need more than another eBird checklist or another digital image. To thrive, bird populations need your support in the form of time (to educate yourself and to work locally, on the ground and at the table where the powers that be decide the fate of habitat and migration corridors), and money (to acquire and manage habitat, and to pay folks to do the before mentioned effort for you when you can’t).
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