Here’s the radar from sunset last night through 5:00am this morning.
Frames are every 1/2 hour. Click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized animation.
The zone of migration, bounded by the frontal systems to our north and west, has once again allowed for a moderate to heavy flight across the region. Here is the national composite radar from midnight last night: http://www.rap.ucar.edu/weather/radar/nids/images/N0R/KUSA/20110427_035700.png which gives you an idea of the relative migration intensity across the country. Migration in the south is still cranking as more birds are entering the region each day from the Caribbean and the Yucatan. Bird density appears to thin out a bit over the Mid-Atlantic, and we see this reflected in the Dover and Fort Dix radars as well. The reason for this is likely related to the source pool of migration-ready birds. On the heels of three nights of heavy migration the birds within the Mid-Atlantic likely needed more time to refuel before heading out again. We see this regularly during migration where reflectivity decreases on successive nights as new arrivals settle in for a few days of stopover.
While Eastern NY appeared to be under a similar migration pattern as New Jersey (light to moderate), the rest of the state was cranking last night. The precipitation over Central NY finally broke enough to allow a significant flight up into the northern reaches of the state.
For today expect a net drop in bird density across the state as more birds appear to have left then had arrived. Given the trajectory of migration over NJ this morning (SSW->NNE) expect inland hotspots to produce the highest diversity of new birds today. Garret Mountain is probably your best bet, with sites along the northern Delaware Bay west to the Delaware River also being good today. Of course breeding birds are really showing well these days, so a trip to Belleplain SF is sure to excite any birder just putting away their winter gear. Check out the staggering numbers tallied by Tom Reed and others this past weekend, posted on the BirdCapeMay.Org blog.
Looking ahead we have more of the same migration conditions shaping up for tonight, and tomorrow night is looking particularly interesting as winds shift more westerly into Friday morning. Stay tuned for more updates- and please come back and let us know what you’ve seen. Now let me get up on my soapbox for a moment…
Yesterday’s daily traffic on this site was the highest in the last two years (that’s awesome!!), and yet only a small handful of folks post site reports on a regular basis to give us an idea of the relationship between what we saw on the radar and what was actually on the ground. I realize it takes time to post, and many of you are posting elsewhere, but even a redundant post (copy-paste) or a simple eBird checklist would be an excellent addition to the daily entry (I realize I need to walk-the-talk as well, and will make an effort to post my sightings more often). This is especially important when one of us comes back days, months, or years later and want to see what happened on a particular date. Without the ground-truth information, the radar archive becomes much less useful. Again, I can’t thank you enough for all of the support and great interaction you’ve provided via email and through this site; I’m only requesting that we bolster the community participation factor that turns my one-way analysis into something much greater: a citizen science archive of migration phenomena across the Mid-Atlantic US. In case you missed it, YOU are the die-hard birders I’m talking about in the header of this website.
Good birding, and as always, thanks for being part of the community!