Feathered treats fly down the coast…

…although the radar cannot resolve whether broomsticks were involved. Here’s the radar from sunset last night though 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

Since the last of the cold front had cleared the region by yesterday morning, migration over the mid-Atlantic has been set at ‘constant flow’.  Raptors moved through Cape May at a steady pace yesterday with two Golden Eagles being tallied at the Swarovski Hawkwatch. Having taken the rest of the day off after leading my Higbee’s Beach walk in the morning, I was able to see both of them. As the day ended, skies darkened, and winds continuing out of the north last night, it was no wonder that birds again took to the skies in southbound migration.

Looking at the regional composite you can see migration activity really concentrated along the east coast with the heaviest movements still south of us. I must say that I expected a little more in terms of density and coverage (especially more out of NY State), but then again it wasn’t as if many birds were backed up for more than one day. Where migration was significant, birds were heading out of New England and funneling down the coast with many of them making their way into New Jersey this morning. The trajectories on the individual radars suggest that the light NNE winds allowed birds to move inland by this morning as well, which will favor inland migrant traps over coastal ones. Light NE winds today will also favor inland hawkwatches too. That means Raccoon Ridge and Chimney Rock and Cold Brook Preserve in Central NJ, and sites along the Delaware River and Delaware Bay Shore down south. That said, since I can’t just throw Cape May under the bus… and I do expect a respectable portion of these coastal migrants to be on the southernmost peninsula (and Island) by daybreak. Now I’m out the door to look for owls pre-dawn… good birding to anyone lucky enough to have time on this Halloween Monday!

Wishing you many feathered treats,

 

David

Tricks before treats as something wicked that way goes

Not quite a Halloween blizzard, the big low pressure system that dumped rain and snow across the region is now spinning its way off of the US coast to the northeast. For those locales which were outside of its clutches by late last night we saw some migration activity as birds took advantage of the NW winds… otherwise birds hunkered down in anticipation of better conditions today and tonight. 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 I had written previously, and as I had been saying throughout the weekend, a big flight last night would be highly dependent on the timing of the storm system passing over our region. Well, as of 11:00pm last night the only coastal areas that met this criteria were extreme southern NJ and the Delmarva Peninsula. As a result, a light late-night/early-morning flight was apparent on the radar from central NJ down through the Delmarva (with the highest densities over DE). Birds were also moving out of southern NY over the Albany and Binghamton radars, all of which were headed due south on strong northerly winds. Looking at the regional composite, though, it is clear that the heaviest migration was well south of us where conditions had cleared out the night before… that should tell you something about what to expect tonight (but we’ll get to that in a minute).

With little migration over the region last night expect only minor changes in local bird densities. Northwest winds dominated (and continue to dominate) early this morning which favors coastal locations in the southern part of the state (there was no appreciable migration over eastern New York to convey birds into northeastern New Jersey). That, of course, means Cape May will be the place to be this morning- not only for the best chance at picking up newly arrived nocturnal migrants, but also because the persistent northwest winds will mean an excellent raptor show at the hawkwatch with better than even odds at multiple Golden Eagles and the possibility of a Northern Goshawk.

Diurnal migrants will be on the move today and I expect a heavy nocturnal flight across the entire region tonight as well. Since the winds are expected to turn light and northerly overnight I expect the flight to be more broadly dispersed across the landscape. This is, of course, better for the birds in terms of reduced mortality during migration, but makes finding them a little more difficult for us bipeds.  If you’re in Cape May tonight, though, it will be a good time to do some night listening for nocturnal migrants as overall density will be high regardless of the less-than-perfect winds (north winds still bring a large proportion of birds to the southern peninsula).

Now, get out there and bird- and please come back and let us know what you saw!

Good Birding

David

Brrrrrrrrrrr

As I sit here pouring over the radar, I’m left to wonder: “Why the heck isn’t my heat working!??” Oh well. 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

The strengthening low pressure system to our south is part of the bigger front that keeps on giving (yesterday’s low, now out to sea, was/is also part of this frontal boundary) and appears to have been the barrier to what was otherwise a moderate night of migration. Migrants could be seen taking to the sky across eastern New York and statewide across New Jersey after sunset last night and heading in a NE->SW direction until being eclipsed by the low pressure system early this morning. Localized concentrations of migrants should be apparent across southern and central New Jersey this morning with inland sites being favored to coastal ones given the easterly component to the winds. Birding today will be tricky given the wind forecast (20+ mph) and precipitation outlook so make sure you dress appropriately and choose locations where you can get out of the wind (the birds are no fools, either… you can expect them to be following the same advice).

Good Birding

David

Riders on the storm

I absolutely love that Doors song, which probably explains why this blog post title has been recycled four times since 2007. Anyway, if you were in the Northeast or mid-Atlantic last night then you probably heard (and/or felt) the latest cold front roar across the region as it headed east into the Atlantic Ocean. With it went some locally-heavy rainfall, and behind it built in some gusty winds out of the NNW… carrying feathered cargo. 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

What a classic fall migration event! If you check out the regional composite you can see the frontal boundary pushing off the east coast into late last night while the radars behind the front quickly transition from precipitation to migration as conditions improve. Migration was heavy throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey while New York exhibited a less significant flight. Looking at the radial velocity images you can really see the effect of strong NW winds in the upper atmosphere as birds were concentrated along the coast and funneled down the southern NJ peninsula. At the surface winds have been more northerly and even northeasterly, which should disperse some of these migrants as they land this morning. Still, these conditions favor coastal migrant traps such as Sandy Hook to the north and Cape May to the south.

Expect winds to persist out of the north today eventually turning northeast by this evening. This should produce a decent raptor flight throughout the day with the best conditions along the coast occurring in the morning and inland locations getting better later in the day. Unfortunately increased cloud cover during the day will diminish thermal lift and could impact inland hawkwatches before the wind potential can be realize. It’ll be a wait-and-see game today. Either way, today will be a great day to visit Cape May, and with the Autumn Weekend kicking into high gear there will be plenty of great eyes in the field to help spot the birds. I hope to see you out there!

Good Birding

David

Birds on the move

More migration last night, but I’ve gotta get out early today so the radar will have to wait. You don’t have to though, as you can get the real-time (and archived) radar for today via this website:

http://weather.rap.ucar.edu/radar/

I’ll post an update with the radar and interpretation later today.

 

Until then, good birding!

 

David