March can be cold and blustery, or mild and sunny – sometimes within the span of a few hours!  On average 140 species are seen this month.

Northern Shoveler 2 by Chuck Schleigh

Northern Shoveler by Chuck Schleigh

Waterfowl still fill the open water, as the slowly departing winter ducks are replaced by new arrivals.  March is the peak month for migrating ducks. Green-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall and Ruddy Duck should be seen this month. Keep an eye out for Eurasian Wigeon, perhaps at Braddock Bay or at Montezuma. Flocks of Canada Goose will fill the skies too and the fields along the lakeshore, and they are sometimes joined by Snow Goose, Cackling Goose, and Greater-white Fronted Goose.

The first spring hawk flights occur this month at Braddock Bay. Expect to see eagles, Rough-legged Hawk, and Cooper’s Hawk among the clouds.  Sandhill Crane are sometimes seen flying over, and pay close attention to any vultures overhead as you may spot a Black Vulture.

Warm fronts will bring the best birding along the lakeshore’s fields and woodlots. The first shorebirds, Pectoral Sandpiper and both Yellowlegs, will show up this month in flooded fields, along with Killdeer.

Fox Sparrow - Oatka Creek Park - © Jim Adams - Apr 11, 2016

Fox Sparrow – Oatka Creek Park – © Jim Adams – Apr 11, 2016

Spring migration will bring some new arrivals to your yard. Winter Wren, Fox Sparrow and Golden-crowned Kinglet could show up in your brush piles and shrubs.

Eastern Phoebe will arrive to catch the very first insects of the year, Red-winged Blackbird are a sure sign of spring, and early swallows may start to filter in.