August Leading to Fall Birding

In many ways I look forward to fall migration more than spring migration. There seems to be less going on personally which gives more time bird. Fewer birds calling helps on ID’ing them. And I just plain enjoy the warmer, dryer temperatures of fall. And it begins with August Leading to Fall Birding.

August Leading to Fall Birding
We aren’t anywhere near this date but late October isn’t far off.

I previously blogged about my August 2012 experiment. That month I birded Southern LaSalle County Illinois all 31 days of August and saw 129 species, 20% more than a typical August. Going back and analyzing the data I figured I would have seen 116 species if I had birded the days before and after cold fronts. If memory is correct that would have been 10-11 days or 5 fronts. So birding only 1/3 of the days I could have seen 90% percent of the species. Pareto would have been proud.

The area I birded in Southern LaSalle County Illinois was south of I80 and approximately 390 square miles. About the size of Marion County. So my plan for August 2017 is to bird Marion County and only on the days preceding and following cold fronts. Plus weekends. Hopefully with work and travel I can bird those days.

Yesterday began August birding. I checked the local flooded field for shorebirds since a Cold Front would be passing today.

Using eBird as a guide the expected number of species for Marion County in August is approximately 115. My August high for Johnson County is 96. Which is about right since there isn’t a large body of water.

The catch in this plan is finding a good shorebird spot in Marion County. If it keeps raining the local spot will be full of water all month. But if it stops now it should be good towards the middle of the month.

The local flooded field is still full but has a small spot on the far side for shorebirds. This photo is from last August.

And hopefully this will lead to more hours in the field. Something I’ve been truly lacking.

2 Replies to “August Leading to Fall Birding”

  1. I will be interested to see how your Marion County experiment goes. Do you ever bird Eagle Creek Park? I haven’t been in several years but there always seemed to be pretty good habitat if the amount of rain was right. I got most of my shorebird lifers there when I started birding hard in 2012, including some great ones like Red-necked Phalarope and Baird’s Sandpiper.

    1. I’ve been there 2 or 3 times. You’ve been following this blog long enough to know I’ve got an adversity to places with people and birds. I’ll bird places with fewer birds if there are fewer people. That being said if I lived closer to Eagle Creek I’d probably go more often.
      But you’re right the north side can be good for shorebirds with the right amount of rain.

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