Against the wind

The wind last night ranged from light and westerly at the surface, to strong and opposing out of the northwest at ~3000 feet- but when you’re in the thick of the migration season birds are going to do what they have to do to push on. 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.

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 

Without getting into too much detail, I think it’s safe to say that they synoptic weather is a bit of a mess right now. Several areas of low pressure are strewn about the eastern half of the country, the interactions of which have resulted in variable wind throughout the region. The mix of wind direction and speed at various altitudes clearly allowed some birds to migrate northeast through the Mid-Atlantic last night, and may even have caused some reverse migration which appears to be present on both the Fort Dix and Dover radars.

As we move deeper into the migrations season, predicting where birds will be on the landscape becomes considerably more difficult. The flip-side of course is that it becomes easier to find “good” birding conditions as the landscape becomes saturated with breeders and migrants at various stages of their journey. Most birds last night appeared to be on a SW->NE trajectory; typical for this region. Therefore expect inland hotspots such as Garret Mtn. to hold birds this morning. I didn’t see much indication that birds were being pushed to the coast this morning so Sandy Hook might not be the best place today in terms of overall density- although there should still be enough birds around to keep you busy. Interior locations, especially ones which support habitat for breeding birds, will be good bets today as territories begin to fill in across the region. So how’s that for a conclusive forecast? Did I cover all of my bases? Basically, throw out the rule book; birds were moving all over the place last night; no major exodus out of the region; just go birding!

Good Birding



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