One thing in this week’s forecast that everyone will enjoy is RAIN. If the forecast holds this week and next weekend may bring plenty of it. Precip is predicted on 10 of the next 10 days (!) which is absolutely incredible considering we’re in the middle of consistent heat and drought. On the birding front, next weekend is shaping up to look excellent for lake watching: Saturday, Sunday, Monday AND Tuesday show thunderstorm fronts and NW winds between 10 and 15 mph. This is a full week ahead, but we’re watching this forecast in detail.
Ingredients for fall lakewatching (shorebirds, gulls, terns, jaegers, waterfowl):
The best winds: strong NNW or WNW, or due North. NE can be interesting but typically does not produce as do the others. The stronger the wind the better. Ideally over 10mph, with the best between 15 to 40+ mph.
Storms. Ideally, along with the right winds listed, birds either push ahead of, are carried by or follow behind thunderstorm fronts. In the case of shorebirds, thunderstorm events literally push shorebirds to the ground, as witnessed, for example at Conneaut during storm events, when shorebirds drop out of the sky and put down onto mudflats. Jaegers and gulls will move ahead of, with or behind storm fronts. Waterfowl will move ahead of or with fronts.
Lakewatching: The more horrific the weather, the more terrific the birds.
What can I see while lakewatching in late July and early August?
If you bird the lakefront on days with the above described weather, you have a great shot at seeing passing shorebirds (including rarities such as avocet, Willet, Whimbrel, godwits), large movements of gulls including the possibility of rarities such as Laughing and Little Gulls, terns, and the red-letter possibility of an early jaeger. Long-tailed Jaegers start to show up on the Great Lakes in August – typically beginning around the second week.