Monday, April 16, 2012

Where should I go birding in May?

Glorious migration! How can one possibly plan to be EVERYWHERE at DAWN in May?

In the Pacific Northwest, Memorial Day Weekend is synonymous with "MALHEUR Day Weekend." Indeed, this 3rd or 4th weekend of the month hits the peak migration window of many vagrant eastern warblers and other neo-tropical migrants. Plus, most of the breeders have arrived. The last regular migrants include Willow Flycatchers, Bobolinks, Common Nighthawks, Flammulated Owls, Red-eyed Vireos, American Redstarts, Eastern Kingbirds. Last year it was cold and snowy all through May--migrants fresh from the tropics were desperately trying to find insects to eat as they covered the sage flats. Maybe this year will be warm!

I've got other plans that weekend, so I'll likely go to Malheur in June, instead. But May 5th I'll be on a pelagic trip off Newport, Oregon. Besides the regulars such as Black-footed Albatrosses, Sooty Shearwaters, Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels, Sabine's Gulls, and Rhinoceros Auklets, target birds include Long-tailed Jaegers and Red Phalaropes in breeding plumage.

The first week in May is the end of shorebird migration. So, I'll be hitting the local inland puddles and perhaps my schedule will work out to hit the tides right at the coast (rising tides force shorebirds closer to shore--and thus to observers. A high tide at 9 AM would be perfect for an early morning visit!).

Where are you planning on watching birds in the coming month and what species do you hope to see there? Are you a field trip organizer? We want to hear what you offer (fee or free). Leave your response in the Comments section as ideas for others.

Birding festivals:

Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival
May 4-6, 2012
Hoquiam, WA
Featured speaker Richard Crossley

Wings Over the Rockies
May 7-14, 2012
Invermere, BC

Fern Ridge Wings & Wine Festival
May 12-13, 2012
Veneta, OR

Leavenworth Bird Festival
May 17-20, 2012
Leavanworth, WA
Keynote speaker David Craig

Meadowlark Nature Festival
May 17-21, 2012
Penticton, BC

Ladd Marsh Birdathon
May 18-20, 2012
La Grande, OR
Noah Strycker talks about his penguin adventures

Tualatin River Bird Festival
Sherwood, OR
May 18-20, 2012

Snake River Birds of Prey Festival
Kuna, ID
Cancelled for 2012

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