The migration highway continues

Southerly winds over the western half of the region and southeasterly winds along the coast continue to convey birds up to the northern reaches of the country last night. 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

Oh those southeast winds… good for the birds, but lousy for the birders along the coast! Here we go again, watching all of the birds most recently funneled to the Delmarva Peninsula several night ago, getting pushed up into WESTERN New Jersey and eastern PA overnight. Eastern NY showed little migration last night as well suggesting that the source of birds is currently well to the west of Long Island (as the conditions for migration were not “bad” last night over that area… so we assume that birds simply weren’t there to migrate out). Migration was heavy again over PA and NY state, while a line of heavy storms appear to have put some birds down over Washington DC and parts of northern VA. If those storms hit your area late last night (especially between midnight and 2:00am) make sure to check out your local patch for some grounded migrants.

For NJ, expect the greatest densities of migrants to be along the Delaware Bay shore and at hotspots along the Delaware River such as National Park, Palmyra, etc. and inland hotspots in the southern half of the state. According to the radar, it looks like the northern half of the state saw little migration activity so I wouldn’t expect much change at a place like Garret today- although it’s hard to tell what happened up there on the radar alone. Since Garret was hot yesterday, if little left and only some new birds arrived then it could be just as hot today. The coast, of course, is going to have the least migrants today given the southeast winds… so those of us in Cape May will probably just have to settle for more Mississippi Kites and tens of thousands of shorebirds (including the two Curlew Sandpipers and breeding plumage female Red-necked Phalarope being seen at Heislerville)… a few more spring warblers WOULD be nice, though 😉

Good Birding


7 responses to “The migration highway continues”

  1. If truth be known, Garrett was pretty quiet yesterday, however, an Olive-sided Fly and a Kentucky Warbler belting out his song for hours, providing pretty good looks, were more than adequate compensation. A reported Mourning Warbler went unseen by us. As it has been for most of the Spring, Liberty SP had but a handful of migrants this am with just a couple each of Redstarts and an influx of Waxwings.


  2. I didn’t get out early as was waiting on the weather to see if a thorough butterfly survey was going to happen at a local park! It didn’t so I hit Glassboro Woods. The funny thing was the only migrant I had was an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER. I did have 4 REDSTARTS at work in Barrington though. And a VEERY at that local park this afternooon! It hasn’t been too bad down here in SW Jersey, not many numbers, but I am getting a turnover.

  3. these maps represent Doppler for weather phenomenon and NOT actual birds or other migrating pollinators…sorry, they never correspond with Bmail findings or any other Ornithological studies. Wish birds were that abundant and shoredbirds peaked along west and Mississippi Flyway’s several weeks ago………………………..the only reliable source would be massive taggings that could be caught on all satellites.

      • That’s not the scientific method…………………..I wish you had that many birds…………………but, Manomet nor anyone else does! C’mon, David……………..with pollution and fronts paralleling your ‘movements’, throw in some Japan radiation and geo-engineering Plan B particulates (plus Corexit from Gulf spill that doesn’t readily disassocaite that forms great condensation nuclei for tornadic and cumulus formation) and this is a new paradigm…………….if you can demonstrate how flocks of birds are indeed composing these irregular Doppler, I’ll buy the first round!

        • Rasta mon:

          1. these nocturnally migrating birds produce “irregular Doppler” images because they lift off after sunset – first closest to the radar, then farther out as they must be at higher altitude to be detected by the radar beam which rises at 0.5 degrees away from the radar, creating the characteristic “blooming” effect. This effect is seen again in reverse after midnight, as birds fall out of the radar view and land for the following day.

          2. given a tailwind, the birds (and bats) move 10-15+ kts faster than the prevailing winds. You can look at the radiosonde data for that day and see what the actual wind speed was at the surface and at ~3000 ft (~950mb) and compare that to the velocity image to see the difference between target (bird etc.) speed and wind speed. Are you now going to tell me that your Corexit (or aerial pollution, etc. is flying faster than the wind? and then explain to me how they fly at a different headings than the prevailing wind? because birds DO? Does pollution actively avoid the coastline? because, again, these birds DO.

          Add to this the seasonal nature and the clear directionality of the events (north in the spring, south in the fall) and the evidence is irrefutable. And yes, I’m also suggesting that these radar loops represent thousands to millions of birds passing over the region in a given night. Yes, these estimates are within a very biologically realistic range, and yes, there are many lines of evidence to support these being migrants (nocturnal flight call activity, moonwatching, visible migration either under artificial light or in the early morning hours, etc.).

          Okay, now you owe me a round, and I drink the expensive stuff.


  4. Simon- thanks for the correction. I did say “hot” mostly because of Bill E.’s eBird list… but you’re right, reports indicated it was quite slow albeit punctuated by a few good species. That also makes sense given the easterly flow… oh that easterly flow!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: