New arrivals overnight

Although northerly winds clearly dominated at higher altitudes, light southerly winds at the surface allowed for moderate to heavy migration over the region last night. Here’s the radar from sunset last night through 5:30am this morning.

Frames are every 1/2 hour for reflectivity and velocity, and every hour for the regional composite. 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 Composite Base Reflectivity image from the Northeastern USA

As you can see from the composite image, migration was heaviest around the northeastern US and down around the Great Lakes, where southerly winds were strongest along the edge of the approaching cold front. Still, with clear skies and light winds over our area, Zugunruhe got the better of many birds that may have otherwise waited out better conditions just a weeks ago. Such are the patters of spring!

With no weather in the forecast to concentrate birds, but with light west winds over the state, I think the best bets for today will be inland migrant traps (Garret Mountain being my favorite) and coastal locations such as Sandy Hook. Of course, the best opportunity for diversity will be in south Jersey, and with the influx of birds apparent on the radar, we should see some new arrivals there this morning.

Be sure to come on back and let us know how it goes!

Good Birding


P.S. Come check out my migration forecast for the Mid-Atlantic on

Please don’t forget to become a member of the Woodcreeper/Badbirdz flock today. Membership has its privileges, so read the Become a Member post to find out more.

Radar Migration

Well, this Spring migration study came to a screeching halt a few weeks ago as field work called me to Florida, research kicked up a notch here in Somerset, NJ, and I co-taught a field course at Island Beach State Park. The ultimate blow was a hacker getting into my friend’s server, where is housed. This cancelled my animation script which meant I would have to make each animation manually if I wanted to post them to the site…coupled with all the work and lack of dependable internet service, there was nothing I could do to keep it running like it had been. My site is now being moved to another server which will have technical support so that hopefully I can avoid another crash at the peak of migration. I’m working with Mike Mills to design an automated radar website to track migration. The ultimate goal is to have a site that anyone can customize for their area, so that we might eventually have a network of websites tracking migration across the country. If you’re interested in reading more about radar ornithology, I have an article in the July/August issue of WildBird magazine. If you do happen to read it, please stop by and leave a note! I do have all of the radar images still backed up from when the server was hacked, so when I get some time I will attempt to fill in the gaps for the historical record. Thanks to everyone who participated in the Spring 2007 migration study. Although this season was one of the shortest due to complications, the discussions and interpretations continue to elucidate many of the mysteries of migration including timing, diversity, and optimal conditions. The technology available over the internet is increasing at an explosive rate, such that the next fall and spring should be very exciting times to track birds across the night sky.

Good Birding!


Birds on the move tonight

Birds are on the move tonight for sure! SW winds are providing a nice tailwind and birds all up and down the east coast are heading to the north tonight.

Here’s the velocity image from Norfolk, VA at 11:30pm tonight. The signals over New Jersey are larger and stronger indicating a great exodus of birds out of the state as well. Expect good birding conditions across the state, with high densities along the coastal areas such as Sandy Hook and Cape May Point. Interior locations should also be productive as well, but might see a decrease since many birds are indeed leaving tonight. My radar feed is still down, so I cannot currently provide the animated loops until a new server is purchased. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

Good Birding!