Lots of weather, little flight

A mix of wind directions and precipitation scenarios made for a very uneven distribution of birds last night. Here’s the radar from sunset last night through 6:00am this morning. Note that the Dover radar was having problems last night, so only a few of the images are present in the loop.

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 winds over New Jersey ranged from north to south, and east to west, throughout the night, with the only consistency being relatively low wind speeds. Therefore we did see some migration last night, even on the unstable wind conditions and precipitation that moved through overnight. Given the predominance of southeasterly winds over southern New Jersey, most birds over the Dover radar appeared to be heading inland, up the Delaware River, instead of across to the north bay shore. Over central and northern New Jersey, though, most movement started out on a S->N trajectory, and then turned the more typical SW->NE throughout the night. Birds could be seen heading over Sandy Hook on the early morning radar, but given the ESE wind readings on the Sandy Hook buoy as of 6:30am, I’d say that the probability is low for high densities of birds on this well-established migrant trap. Inland sites such as Garret Mountain and locations along the Delaware River may be the best bets for seeing some new birds today.

Over the next two nights we will see south winds across the region, as a cold front pushes east and then stalls over our area. We’re getting pretty late in the season now, so I’m not expecting anything major, but it will be interesting to see how May wraps up migration-wise. On that note, I’ll be signing off with my regular (almost) daily posts as of tomorrow morning, but will be posting throughout the summer on interesting topics, and hopefully with a summary of this seasons migration events. It has been another fun season, this time with the added benefit of living in Cape May… now I really can’t wait for fall!

Good Birding

David

Small movements over the Mid-Atlantic

A small number of birds could be seen migrating last night, but the switch to more northerly winds clearly shut things down early, especially in the north. 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

Not much to say, except that while I expect a few more nights of moderate migration over the next week, things have definitely wound down for the season.

Last night we saw a little push of birds into the region, and an even smaller amount heading out. I think the main variable here was more northerly winds up north, and more variable winds down south. Expect birds to have thinned out a bit across most of the state, dispersing from migrant traps to better stopover habitat, and in general becoming less visible (ie not concentrated in any particular place). The Cape May peninsula showed a higher degree of activity last night that I had expected (with no strong westerly winds), so it will be interesting to see what turns up down here throughout the day. It’s possible that a good portion of this activity was shorebirds, especially since you can see a morning exodus of birds heading back south in the last frame, presumably roosting shorebirds or gulls heading over the Delaware to feed.

Good Birding

David

Another moderate flight into and out-of the Mid-Atlantic

The winds were light last night; more easterly to the south and more southwesterly to the north, creating an interesting signature across the radar.

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

So the northern half of New Jersey experienced the bulk of the migration last night, with birds traveling in a typical SW->NE direction over Sandy Hook and into Manhattan and Long Island, NY. Sandy Hook and Garret Mountain, therefore, should be the best bets for new arrivals this morning.

Further south, though, migration was on a more S->N trajectory, although not as prominent as it had been in previous nights, when east winds had been stronger. Some birds can actually be seen crossing between Lewes, DE and the Cape May peninsula last night, unlike the night before. Still, the bulk of migration in the south entered New Jersey well north on the Delaware Bay shore such that any appreciable migration activity will be most likely in those locales.

Good Birding

David

Birds heading north, out of Mid-Atlantic

The winds over southern New Jersey last night were out of the ENE, while most of the region to our west was under more easterly, or southeasterly flow. That seems to have been the deciding factor in where migration occurred last night, and where it didn’t. 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, the heaviest migration occurred over the greater New York state (regional composite) with little movement along the east coast, including Manhattan and Long Island. For New Jersey, a moderate push could be seen leaving the northern half of the state, while the south was relatively quiet. A nice pulse of birds were also evident heading north out of the Chesapeake Bay and Delmarva Peninsula, but all of this movement appeared to be heading due north, and bypassing NJ altogether.

Expect little in terms of migration density across the region… with Garret Mountain still holding more migrants relative to other locations.

Good Birding

David

Heavy flight last night, plus some visible migration!

The eastern seaboard was ablaze with migration last night, along with the Central Flyway and parts of the Mississippi Flyway as 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

Winds were light and southeasterly last night, triggering another night of migration across many parts of the country, especially at central and northern latitudes. On the east coast, migration was heavy from the Mid-Atlantic through the Northeast, with highest densities occurring inland from the coast. This appears due to the southeasterly flow of the winds, which (for once this spring) did not push birds toward the coast. Expect the highest densities at inland migration hotspots today, such as along the Delaware River, and along interior ridges such as Garret Mountain. East winds should preclude many nocturnal migrants from “sticking” to coastal hotspots such as Sandy Hook, but may bring the possible pelagic gem (such as Sooty Shearwater or Arctic Tern) closer to shore… so if you’re in Cape May for Spring Weekend, or out at Montauk for some sun, be sure to scan the sea for anything out of the ordinary! And of course, come on back and let us know what you see.

Last night I was alerted to some visible migration via the Night Flight Call listserve (are you a member of the list? well, if you’re interested in nocturnal flight calls, you might want to consider it). From a local patch on the south side of Boston, Marshall Iliff reported seeing an inland flight of White-winged Scoters heading north. By the time darkness fell, he had estimated 630 individuals in several flocks. What a great sighting! Along with the WWSCs, he also witnessed 80 Atlantic Brant, a more regionally common sighting, but still a notable movement of migrants heading to the northwest. Bill Evans brought up the possibility of seeing these birds on the radar, so I’m going to take a closer look at the loops for Massachusetts and see if anything stands out… I’ll post an update when I’ve got something.

Until then, get out there and find some birds- it’s Spring Weekend down here, and I’ve got a hankering for some Puffinus on today’s seawatch… or maybe the Swallow-tailed AND Mississippi Kites from yesterday will return again today (and I won’t have to be in the office this time!!!!)

Good Birding!

David