Migration? Where?

West of here, that’s where. Here’s the radar from 7:30pm 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

Most of the time I post the radar so that you’ll watch each loop and get a better idea of the relative densities moving overhead, and the general direction and speed of birds moving over the course of the night and morning. Today, though, if you look at the radar loops for NY, NJ and DE, what you’ll see is very little in terms of migration activity. What you do see is a large band of precipitation moving SW->NE which gives you some indication of why we’re getting shut out of the broader migration event. Look at the regional composite and you’ll see strong radar returns from the west and central NY radar stations… now THAT is migration. Compare that to the Fort Dix, Dover, DE and Upton NY radars where you’ll see almost no migration (very light densities, targets moving in a general SW->NE trajectory at the speed of the prevailing winds, etc.), except for a small ‘bleed over’ along the western edge of the radar’s view. Even there, though, densities are relatively low. I don’t expect much in terms of migrant concentration this morning, although with the persistent rain you never know what small group or interesting individual might decide to take refuge in your local patch. The best chance for any observable change in on-the-ground conditions will be along the western boundary of NJ where the ‘bleed over’ was somewhat apparent.

Looking ahead the forecast is pretty bleak through the weekend, although there appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel. Sunday and Monday nights look like they could produce the next big push of birds into the region as this system finally pushes offshore and high pressure builds in over New England. If all goes as planned (which rarely happens) New England should experience some strong NW winds on Sunday and Monday nights, effectively pushing all of those bottled up migrants to the coast and offshore, only to track south along the NJ shoreline into the morning hours. Some (hopefully many) of these birds will then head inland for shore on Monday and Tuesday mornings making for good conditions at coastal hotspots. But you know what they say about best laid plans… so we’ll have to keep an eye on the weather to see how it shapes up as we move through the weekend.

On another note, today is the second official day of the 2011 New Jersey Audubon/ Cape May Bird Observatory Avalon Seawatch and Tom Reed’s first day as the official counter! (yesterday was the first official day- and Tom’s first day off. Not to worry, his esteemed post was occupied by the ‘eagle-eyes-of-the-sea’ swing counter, Tom Magarian). So if you’re in the area, drop by and pay Mr. Reed a visit, and maybe bring him a hot cup of soup; it’s gonna be a wet one today!


Good Birding




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