Birds birds birds, and those pesky southeasterlies

Migration over the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast was hot and heavy last night, but southeast winds which built in early this morning have continued the spring trend of blowing birds away from the coast. 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 

A very stable atmosphere across the region, coupled by light southerly winds, made for optimal migration conditions last night. The regional reflectivity indicates heavy migration across most of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast with the heaviest returns from northern NJ, PA, and NY State. Locally, what began as a great push of birds into southeastern NJ (over Cape May, specifically) eventually turned more west as southeast winds built in late yesterday evening and into this morning. Unfortunately this was the push of birds we were all waiting for, as it took several days to materialize; first two decent flights into the Delmarva on Thursday and Friday nights, then the ultimate migration of these birds into NJ airspace this morning. Thinking less selfishly, these birds are indeed in NJ and therefore will be spread across the Delaware Bay shore and up into the interior parts of the state. A similar story played out in Northern NJ where birds were initially tracking over Sandy Hook, but quickly turned inland on southeast winds (make sure you watch the velocity loop to see the change).

So, give what I have laid out above, expect inland locations to have the most birds today including sites along the Delaware River such as National Park, but also interior sites in Central NJ such as Negri-Nepote, or the Sourland Mountains. While not perfect conditions for Garret, I would still expect a decent day at this reliable spring hotspot. Sandy Hook looks like it got snubbed on this flight, while the Town that Spring Forgot (Cape May) should have a few new birds around given the early trajectory of migrants over the southerly peninsula. Okay, I hear Blackpolls and a Scarlet Tanager outside my window… time to go investigate.

Good Birding


2 responses to “Birds birds birds, and those pesky southeasterlies”

  1. While our intention was to see breeding birds in Cape May we were made aware that there were a few migrants around. The Cape Maygration field trip at Higbees had blackburnian and bay-breasted warbler. We were amongst some of those who saw the 2 Olive-Sided FC’s.
    An immature bald eagle flew by in field #1 at Higbees. We delighted in the 5 MIKI’s in West Cape May as well as the WWDO on Soc’s Rd. Our original target bird Yellow-breasted Chat did not disappoint with a nice visual and audio performance.

    • Awesome! Thanks you two for posting. Yeah- unfortunately I only had an hour today to do any birding, but we had a definite push of migrants into the area. I’m sure it would have been much more if the SW winds persisted, but the multiple Swainson’s Thrushes in the area were a nice consolation prize (including one in my yard). The reports from Higbee’s and Cape May Point definitely suggested some new arrivals- I’m glad you got to see the OSFLs and the MIKIs! (and especially the YBCH!)


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