The wa(aa-ii-)iting is the hardest part

If I told you that there were tens of thousands of birds right at your doorstep, just chomping at the bit to get into New Jersey, would you believe me? Here’s the radar from sunset last night through 6:00am this morning.

Frames are every 1/2 hour. Click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized animation.

Base Reflectivity image from Fort Dix Base Velocity image from Fort Dix Base Reflectivity image from Dover AFB Base Velocity image from Dover AFB Base Reflectivity image from Upton NY Base Velocity image from Upton NY Composite Base Reflectivity image from the Northeastern USA

Well, you should believe me- but don’t use the local radar to confirm it. The local radar showed little movement over New Jersey last night, and even less over New York City. The cold front that dipped down over NJ yesterday has maintained its barrier to northbound migrants from the Delmarva all the way west into the Great Lakes states. It’s pretty impressive! If you check out the regional composite, you can see this effect first-hand. But check out the activity south of the front line… lots of birds! Now check out this link: 20100424_045900.png That’s the national composite from 1am EST last night. Wow.

What you can see from the national composite is heavy migration coming up from the Gulf Coast states and continuing up into the Central Flyway. There’s a large weather system centered over the South; TN, KY, that’s blocking some of the northbound traffic on the Mississippi Flyway, although there is still plenty of action between that system and the front that’s precluding birds from entering our area. Look down at Florida, and you can see birds arriving via Cuba and the Caribbean… pretty sweet! (you can see more on this at, where Angel and Mariel Abreu are updating the Florida radar on a daily basis). Migration up the Eastern Flyway is also ramping up, as you can see heavy movement over Georgia and South Carolina, and moderate to heavy migration moving north up to Virginia.

So, while I expect little change to our avifauna given the almost total blockage of nocturnal migrant by the frontal boundary, by tonight that low pressure spinning in the middle of the country will move east, triggering more southerly flow over our area. I expect to see a good push of birds into the Garden State over the next two nights… so stay tuned!

Good Birding



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