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

Big flight underway…

…with HEAVY migration overhead tonight. Here’s the national composite as of ~10:30pm (5/12):

Birds are heading NNE over NJ and I’d expect Garret Mountain and Sandy Hook to be good tomorrow. It also looks like the Delaware Bay Shore and, to a lesser extent, Cape May will be hopping with new arrivals. I’ll post the full radar later in the day tomorrow, but scouting duties before work await me in the early AM!

 

Good Birding!
David

Heavy migration; birds heading north (was “Gone Fishing”)

I was scouting in the wee hours this morning so couldn’t get the radar up in time. Unfortunately that’s going to be the case for the next two mornings- so I’ll try and move to a night-post format until after the Big Day on Saturday. Here’s the radar from sunset last night until 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 most of the southeast and Mid-Atlantic triggered another push to the north. Heavy migration was apparent heading up into New York State and beyond. Those birds heading across NJ appear to be heading more inland although there did appear to be a late push to the NE over Northern NJ last night. I didn’t see what the upper-level winds were doing last night so it’s hard to tell whether it was wind-driven or not- but either way birds did spread out over the northern half of the state. Migration was heaviest, though, over NY State which is consistent with our being past the peak of spring nocturnal migration. Oh how quick it comes and goes!

For the next few nights we have the potential for migration across the region with south winds forecast in the upper atmosphere and southeast winds at the surface. The mix of winds will mean that even coastal locations will see some new birds while the bulk of the migration will continue to head NNW. This should favor migrant hotspots from central to western NJ on Saturday. Looks like precipitation will strike South Jersey sometime in the day on Saturday but should be restricted to the south until later Saturday night.

Good Birding

David

Heavier migration into the Mid-Atlantic!

Wow! Now THAT was an awesome flight! 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 and variable winds last night allowed a major flight of birds into the Mid-Atlantic and western portion of the Northeastern US although the low pressure system off of Maine continues to stifle any movement into the eastern half of the Northeast (see yesterday’s post for discussion). With easterly winds becoming more dominant, especially in the south, expect most migrants to have moved inland today. This is suggested on the regional composite where the migration cloud can actually be seen heading SSE->NNW, and is confirmed on the velocity loops for Fort Dix and Dover. This pattern is especially pronounced in the south, where east winds built in earlier in the night, and less so in the north which is still under light NNW winds (at least for a little while). If you look at the Fort Dix velocity image, though, you’ll see that Sandy Hook is only barely within the main distribution of migrants- with most birds heading almost due north over Staten Island and points to the west. I imagine that anyone scouting Sussex for the World Series should have a good number of migrants around Culver’s Lake today. Garret Mountain should also be good today, as it has been for the last week. On the Dover radar the main flight line appears to have been straight up the Delaware River, making any migrant traps around Pennsville, NJ an ideal place to be this morning. The National Park dredge spoils and Palmyra should be hopping today! I know my posts have a very local focus and I want to thank Jason in DC for his comment yesterday. It should be noted that the greatest number of migrants are actually passing west of NJ entirely, and the various radars to our west indicated a very heavy flight over the DC area into PA and up into NY State. Birders in those areas should be seeing lots of new birds at local migrant traps this morning. If you’re one of them (birder, not migrant trap), please drop in and let us know what the conditions were like.

World Series of Birding outlook: Right now mostly clear skies and light to moderate southeast winds are the story for the next three nights, so expect migration to continue through Saturday with most migrants on a SSE->NNW track. This means migrants at inland hotspots from Central NJ to the west, and should bode well for the full-state teams up in the Northwest corner at first light. The Delaware River, as today, should see a constant flow of new birds throughout the weekend. For those of you (us) limited to the coastal region, expect to have to work hard for your migrants on Saturday. As is most often the case anyway, breeding birds will be of the utmost importance along the coast during the big day.

On the topic of the World Series, I have some great news! An anonymous donor has covered our entrance fees for the event and any $$ raised will now go directly to supporting research grants for graduate students in the Ecology and Evolution department at Rutgers. Please consider supporting our Rutgers Scarlet Knight-Herons team by making either a per-bird pledge, or a single denomination donation. Every little bit helps- so give what you can and support graduate research in New Jersey. Thanks in advance! More information can be found here.
Good Birding

David

Light migration over NJ, but the future is birdy!

Migration was hot and heavy last night, just not over our area. Here’s the midnight national composite showing the heavy flight over the Central and Mississippi flyways, as well as the Eastern up to Virginia.

Midnight national composite 051011
Midnight National NEXRAD Composite 051011

 

and here’s the radar for our region 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 

A strong low-pressure system off the New England coast (you can see the western edge of it on the regional composite) is churning counter-clockwise and driving northwest winds down into the Northeastern US. This effectively shut down migration over the Northeast region last night, which you can see on both the regional composite as well as the Upton NY radar feed. Over NJ we did see a small and short-lived migration event on a SW->NE trajectory last night, so some stuff will have moved around today although I don’t expect any major differences from yesterday’s birding conditions. Take a look at the Fort Dix radar loop- and especially the velocity- where at just before 5:00am birds appear to leave Staten Island and head towards Sandy Hook. I’m not sure what this is (feel free to chime in) and while a reverse-migration of land birds would not be unheard of,  I suspect these are most likely shorebirds or gulls.

Otherwise things were pretty quiet over the region- but man, does the future look bright! Lots of birds appear to be heading this way from points south, especially along the east coast. The question will be whether a front can push far enough to the east to set up some southwesterly flow and keep the bulk of these birds along the east coast… and right now that scenario looks less-likely. Later this week the big oceanic storm will migrate south along the coast causing NNE winds offshore of the Mid-Atlantic. A front stretching from the Great Lakes to off of the Florida coast will set up light SE->NW winds over the region into the weekend, which will naturally favor inland migrant traps. As of this writing, the winds are forecast to be exceptionally light leading into the weekend, so there is some hope for some of the migration cloud to reach the coast… stay tuned!

In the meantime our Rutgers Scarlet Knight-Herons are pedaling our way around Cape Island, trying to scout every nook and cranny for the upcoming World Series of Birding. We’re competing in the Cape Island Cup and Carbon Footprint Cup categories and hope to break the 150 species mark between midnight on Friday and midnight on Saturday. Right now we’re coming up very short on our fundraising efforts, and haven’t even raised enough to cover our entrance fees. I’m sure most of this has to do with our last-minute ability to get our team together, so I’m really hoping for a late-game rally from the community. If you can support us with a $$ per bird pledge, please email me with your pledge (25 cents, 50 cents, 1 dollar / bird, etc.). If you’d just like to make a flat donation, that’s awesome too! You can send a check to my work, made out to Rutgers EcoGSA (please put WorldSeriesOfBirding in the memo so they know where it’s coming from!) at the following address:

David A. La Puma
Postdoctoral Associate
New Jersey Audubon Society
600 Route 47 North
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210

And if you’d like to use paypal, any donations made to woodcreeper.com between now and Sunday, via the link on this page, will go directly to our WSB fundraising efforts.

Thank you again (and again, and again) for your support- and Good Birding!

David