Heavy migration on the Eastern Flyway

Migration was hot and heavy last night across much of the east coast from Maine to Florida. 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

High pressure over the region set up strong (20-30kt) northwest winds across most of the northeastern US and mid-Atlantic at 925mb (roughly 3500 feet), while winds closer to the surface were lighter and ranged from 5-10kts out of the N. Looking at the local radars we can see strong reflectivity around 20-25 dBZ through most of the peak migration period indicating high densities of birds overhead. The velocity suggests that birds were opting for lower altitiudinal flight (more concentration closer to the radar center indicates lower altitude flight) probably to take advantage of the lighter wind speeds.

While the NJ radars indicate a strong N->S flight which turned NE->SW early this morning, many birds were launching off of the New England coastline and ended up over water today as well. Together these phenomena will result in many birds at both inland and coastal hotspots this morning. Cape May will be a good destination choice, while sites along the north and western Delaware Bay shore will also be productive and inland locations along the Delaware River should see good densities as well. The current northerly wind at Sandy Hook is not optimal for keeping birds late in the day, but the sheer numbers passing over this morning will mean some good birds into the morning (as many birds over water will still need to come ashore after sunrise). Of course, if the winds turn NW soon enough we may see more birds stick around Sandy Hook today. Which brings me to the diurnal forecast.

Since surface winds are expected to vary between NE, N, and NW today, we can also expect raptor numbers to vary across the state in accordance with the winds shift. Expect inland hawkwatches to benefit from the early winds and coastal sites to pick up later in the day… if you haven’t figured it out by now: go birding anywhere in NJ today- just go birding! 😉

Good Birding

David

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3 Responses to Heavy migration on the Eastern Flyway

  1. Sandra Keller says:

    Riverwinds – Scenic Trail. Gloucester County. 1 hour.
    Wow. Although whether most or some of these birds
    were from yesterday also, I don’t know. Still warblers.
    But sparrows made up a bigger component percentage
    wise today. At least here.
    EASTERN PHOEBE – 5
    WINTER WREN – 1
    GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET – 7
    RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET – 8
    HERMIT THRUSH – 2
    BROWN THRASHER – 2
    CEDAR WAXWING – 6
    TENNESSEE WARBLER – 1
    NASHVILLE WARBLER – 1
    COMMON YELLOWTHROAT – 13
    PARULA – 1
    PALM WARBLER – 6
    YELLOW-RUMPED – 20
    CHIPPING SPARROWS – small numbers. No major flock.
    CLAY-COLORED SPARROW – 1
    VESPER SPARROW – 1
    SONG SPARROWS
    WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS – 30.
    GOLDFINCHES – not many.
    The usual FLICKERS and BLUE JAYS.

  2. wendy malmid says:

    Sandy Hook held a number of birds today. Don’t know which were holdovers but new arrivals were 2 Vesper Sparrows for sure at K-lot and flushed an American Bittern in a field at the Marine Academy site. Phoebes, and No. Flickers still with good numbers. Heard what we believe could be a Sedge Wren on Plum Island. It never showed itself and listening to tapes it sounds good but we are not expert on call notes for Sedge Wren. Robin numbers down today, sparrow numbers remain high. 2 Lincoln’s Sparrow seen. Warbler variety down but Tennessee seen today. Other birds include FOS Hermit Thrush 2, Indigo Buntings conspicuous for the absence, Red-Eyed and Philadelphia Vireo, Kinglets especially Ruby-Crowned in high numbers. Monarch numbers were way up today with them nectaring on Goldenrod everywhere there is Goldenrod. We think a 3rd day in a row at the Hook looks to be possible with the weather forecast. David we appreciate you tweeting around 9:30PM how the weather and migration appears to be shaping up every evening.

  3. Tom Brown says:

    My report won’t be much different from Wendy’s, but I didn’t have the advantage of scouring the hook as I was working the nets this morning. Just after sunrise there were many many white throats and ruby-crowned kinglets; within an hour the rc-kinglets had moved on (dispersing throughout the hook, or crossing over to the mainland?), but were later replaced by hundreds of golden-crowned kinglets (over 30 in one tree at one point). I did have a white-crowned and lincoln’s sparrow on randolph near the first house as you come off the main road. Other birds around, lots of flickers, a good number of red-bellies (not a common hook bird), good kestrel flight, bt-blue, magnolia’s, redstarts, hermit thrush, blue headed vireo, and what seemed to be an increase in phoebe’s. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

    cheers