Sticky: WSB FORECAST: Clear skies and westerly winds promise beautiful weather and a broad-front of migrants on the Big Day

Upper-level winds across New Jersey may be out of the NW but light westerly surface winds should provide enough room for migrants to move on Friday night. These conditions should result in a moderate migration event coinciding with the kickoff of the Big Day at midnight. This does increase the probability that staked out migrants may move on Friday night, so keep that in mind.  Garret Mountain and other inland migrant traps should see new birds on Saturday morning as conditions will be clear throughout Pennsylvania and the southern Mid-Atlantic, and coastal traps (especially those in the southern half of the state) should see an influx of birds as upper level NW winds and surface westerlies push them east. The greatest influx is expected into the southern half of the state where winds are forecast to be lighter. Also, expect good clear listening conditions to help pick out those migrants overhead. Given the high ceiling, the best listening will likely occur in the couple of hours predawn on Saturday and again just after dark on Saturday night.

I will post a special forecast here by 10:00pm Eastern Time with updated weather information regarding the World Series of Birding, so be sure to stop by.

Good Birding and Good Luck!

WSB Forecast Update

Current winds at all altitudes over the Delmarva and south NJ are out of the SW while only upper-level winds over the most northern part of the state (Southern NY, really) remain out of the NW. Migration has already begun and WSB participants should expect migrants throughout the region tomorrow AM. Coastal sites will see good density and diversity, as will interior migrant traps such as Garret Mountain. See the pervious forecast for more detail as everything still holds. Good luck and good birding!!

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

 

David

No flight over the Garden State

Heavy precipitation over NJ appears to have precluded any nocturnal migration over NJ last night, despite the prevailing southeast winds. Otherwise migration was light in the surrounding region. 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 

Light migration was apparent over VA, Washington DC, western PA and NY, all of which was on a strong SE->NW trajectory. With little movement over NJ, expect conditions to remain stable from yesterday across the interior part of the state with some birds shifting locally to find better foraging habitat. Otherwise expect less birds along the coast as they head inland on SE winds, while those of you watching the ocean may be treated with the odd tern, phalarope, or a continuation of the jaeger show which has been keeping us quite entertained here in Cape May.

Looking ahead, it appears as if the southeast wind will continue at least through Thursday, but then should turn more southerly as we enter the weekend, just in time for the NJ Audubon/CMBO Cape MAYgration festival beginning today and running through next week! I’ll be leading a workshop (Fri and Sat) on using radar and weather to predict birding conditions, and there are plenty of other great forums, guided walks, and speakers to satisfy birders of every level and interest.

Good Birding

David

Birds head into the region

Bounded by a stationary front draped across northern New York, migrants pushed northward over the Mid-Atlantic 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 

As you can see from the regional composite, most of the migration occurred over Eastern PA, the Delmarva and New Jersey with lesser concentrations over New York State. Some locally heavy thunderstorms moved across the western part of NJ and may have knocked down some of the migrants, so if your area saw heavy rain between the hours of midnight and 5:00am, you should consider checking your local patch this morning. Otherwise birding conditions in NJ should be best at inland hotspots today as the main trajectory of migration was from S->N from the mid-Delaware Bay up to the NE corner of the state.

Sorry for being absent for the last few days- but World Series scouting had me in the field at all hours. The results are in, and while we didn’t come close to garnering the Cape Island Cup (nor the Carbon Footprint Cup), we had an awesome time. In the end The Rutgers Scarlet Knight-Herons (this year’s team was myself, Ben Baiser, and Bill Lynch) pedaled 42+ miles and tallied 104 species of birds on Cape May Island over a period of 20+ hours. In doing so we raised money for the Rutgers Ecology and Evolution Graduate Student Association to fund graduate research projects. Our donation this year will be in the name of Charlie Kontos, one of our original teammates who passed away suddenly last year.  If you would like to support our cause, click here for information on how to donate. For those of you who have pledged support, a heartfelt thank you goes out to you from all of us. While our legs and butts are sore- our smiles are wide and our minds are full of the great memories of this awesome experience. Congrats to everyone who participated- and especially those who were able to take home the highly coveted awards. You deserve it!

Good Birding

David