Spotty migration across the country with some notable standouts (FALLOUT POTENTIAL!)

National Overview

With a series of fronts now moving across the country, migration conditions have begun to break up a bit. Migration and precipitation were both present in the Southeast where low pressure and southerly flow gave birds the go-ahead. Along the Pacific coast we can see some of the heaviest nocturnal migration this spring- which is really exciting especially for our Pacific flyway migration forecasters! (see the links at the bottom of this post). Up the center of the country we saw a mix of migration levels with heavy flights into and out of Texas up to about Oklahoma where conditions began to deteriorate. Migration over the Lower Midwest was light, if at all, while birds picked up again in the northern reaches of the Upper Midwest into the early morning. What you can’t see on the national composite though, may be the most interesting… FALLOUT POTENTIAL on the East Coast! See below…

National Composite NEXRAD from around midnight on 4/22/12

National Composite NEXRAD from around midnight on 4/22/12

Below are the radar loops from sunset last night through 5:00am (central time) this morning

Since I will be publishing “as I go” each morning you may see some incomplete posts throughout the early morning hours. Don’t worry- it’s coming!

Mid Atlantic

Delaware & New Jersey

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

PROBABLE COASTAL FALLOUT for the Mid Atlantic! A strong cold front moved over the region during peak migration this morning, effectively pushing birds to the coast and then shutting them down. Birders in NJ should get to the coast at first light and look for birds returning to shore after being blown over the ocean. Cape May, Sandy Hook, etc. Inland sites will be birdy, but not as much as the coast, I would expect.

Upper Midwest

Iowa & Illinois

Frames are every 1/2 hour. Click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized animation.

Base Reflectivity image from Davenport, IA Base Velocity image from Davenport, IA Base Reflectivity image from Chicago, IL Base Velocity image from Chicago, IL

Birds want to migrate! Conditions weren’t optimal last night; light east winds for the most part turning northwest in the early morning hours. That didn’t seem to stop the birds, though, as both the Davenport and Chicago radars showed light to moderate migration last night. Velocity shows birds moving SE->NW throughout the migration period, and birds can be seen coming over from Michigan at the southern end of the lake. Chicago birders should see some new diversity this morning.


Frames are every 1/2 hour. Click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized animation.

Base Reflectivity image from Milwaukee Base Velocity image from Milwaukee Base Reflectivity image from La Crosse, WI Base Velocity image from La Crosse, WI

As above, birds were on the move despite the less than optimal conditions. Both Milwaukee and La Crosse showed birds moving from the SSE->NNW with a clear cross-lake migration over Milwaukee and what looks like birds piping right up the Mississippi River out of La Crosse. Birders in the west should consider birding the riparian areas along the Mississippi and possibly the Wisconsin River. In the east birds should be dispersed across the landscape although so hit the known migrant traps in your area to see what’s around. As we move later into the migration season we’ll see more birds build up at most locations, which means that even on a light event or when most birds seem to be clearing out, we should have something to ‘look at’. Get out and bird! and if you haven’t read it before… as always, depends on YOU to report your sightings and be our ‘eyes on the ground’, so please come back and give us an idea of how we’re doing predicting birding conditions in your neck of the woods.

For migration updates in other regions check-
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – The Northwoods BIRDAR by Max Henschell <- NEW!
New England – Tom Auer’s blog
Florida/SE – Badbirdz Reloaded by Angel and Mariel Abreu
PA/Ohio Valley – Nemesis Bird by Drew Weber
NW Ohio – Birding the Crane Creek by Kenn Kaufman
Arizona – Words About Birds by Tim Schreckengost <- NEW!
Pac NW – Birds Over Portland by Greg Haworth
Continental US – eBird BirdCast Forecast & Report by Team eBird

This entry was posted in Birds, Forecast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Migration, Migration Radar, NEXRAD Migration Study, Spring Migration 2012. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Spotty migration across the country with some notable standouts (FALLOUT POTENTIAL!)

  1. Tom Brown says:

    Thought sandy hook would be busy as it looked like birds were moving to the east of the precip that was moving to the west of us, I was wrong. I opened the nets just prior to sunrise and banded a total of 4 birds between 5:40 and 8:30 (closed early as a light drizzle began). Of those 4 birds, one was a worm-eating. Did have a male indigo bunting and a titmouse (an uncommon bird , if not rare, on the hook). The volume of birds was very low. Perhaps to the south of us there’s more birds.

  2. Thank you for the intel, Tom! Interesting observations for sure. Reading the Jerseybirds list from today it looks like a mix of medium diversity and density with a few noteworthy arrivals (YBCU in Cape May Courthouse, widespread Warbling Vireos, etc.). Also seems like conditions were good across the board- from the Delaware River to the coast. It would have been nice to have more reports from across Sandy Hook as well as Island Beach and Cape May… very few people reporting today which might be rain-related or not.

    Thanks again- and keep em coming!

    • Tom Brown says:

      Tommy Boyle was at the hook on sunday as well, I walked around with him a bit between net runs, and he wasn’t finding much in the way of landbirds either. After alerting him to the WEWA he left for the morgan flats and found yet more little gulls. Spoke with him this morning and he had some new birds on the hook, red-eyed vireo, hooded warbler, blue grosbeak, rose-breasted grosbeak , and some others that I can’t recall. Were these birds new arrivals from overnight, or just more active than they were yesterday morning??????? Often times bad weather brings good birds to the hook. I teach till 10 tonight, but if I’m up to it and it’s not too windy in the morn I’ll give it a go tomorrow…and definetly thurs. cheers!!!!