Take a look at the impending weather today and tomorrow for the lakefront. Today, NNW winds at 15-20 mph with gusts to 40. A twenty degree temp drop (from yesterday) and rain fronts from a big cold front pushing down from the northern Great Lakes is creating ideal conditions for a big push of waterbirds along Lake Erie. Strong NNW and WNW winds associated with a cold front are perfect for lakewatching atop bluffs that offer a clear view of the coast. Waterfowl, gulls and jaegers move ahead of, with, and behind these fronts in typically sizable numbers as they high-tail it to move south or east. Essentially these fronts act as a slingshot to ride along or over Lake Erie.
Both Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal stage a sizeable movement today and tomorrow, with scattered shovelers and gadwall and other dabblers mixed in. Common species of gulls typically ride the winds en masse, offering a chance to search through flocks for rarities that show up annually at this time.
These exact weather ingredients are perfect for bringing highly-sought-after species to our shorelines. September is a key month for Long-tailed and Parasitic Jaegers and Sabine’s Gulls.
While rare, they are annual on Lake Erie at this time (September) and it takes getting out into rougher weather and higher winds in order to see them from shore.
Today and tomorrow offer the exact ingredients for the perfect recipe for lakewatching for rarities.
Inland birders should check large reservoirs and lakes today and tomorrow and Monday, for Long-tailed Jaeger and Sabine’s Gull. Grand Lake St. Mary’s, Hoover Reservoir, West Branch and Berlin Lakes, Deer Creek, and other large inland bodies of water offer the rare chance for a migrating bird to drop in. Typically inland Long-tailed Jaegers are immature birds, so review ID accordingly!
For those that can get to the lake….get to the lake!