Before turning northwest this morning, southwest winds at all altitudes triggered another night of migration across the Mid-Atlantic and especially the Northeastern US. 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.
Looking at these loops I can see that migration was moderate to heavy over the region last night, especially before 2am when the winds appear to have switched around to the NW. The main trajectory across the Delmarva and Southern NJ put birds smack dab over Cape May this morning, while further north birds could be seen over Sandy Hook and eastern Long Island into the early morning hours. Simon Lane mentioned yesterday that it’s getting late for arriving migrants and he’s mostly right; although I will reiterate that our research in NY has shown the bulk of migration activity extends into the end of May so we’re still within this window. What is absolutely true is that the proportion of the migration ‘cloud’ made up of land-birds is heavily reduced by now and we’re probably seeing more and more shorebirds in these nocturnal flights. That hypothesis is further supported by the reports of nocturnal flight calls I have received lately. Still, landbird migration continues especially for those most northern breeders still waiting for green-up at the highest latitudes or altitudes: Connecticut Warbler, Bicknell’s Thrush, etc…
Given the coastal push I would suggest hitting Sandy Hook or Cape May (or Prospect and Central Park in NY) this morning, but with the early morning northwest flow it’ll be interesting to see whether the birds at Sandy Hook decide to head back inland today. Cape May, on the other hand, benefits greatly from NW winds following a flight- so I’d expect birding conditions there to be good. Given the apparent re-directed flight (you can see this on the Fort DIX loop) you might also consider Garret Mountain for both decent stopover habitat and its ability to concentrate spring migrants. Either way, you should get out there and start ‘digging’ for the northern breeders that made their way into the region this morning.