Back…to the TROPICS!

when Jeff called and asked if I wanted to come to Honduras for a new Leica product launch, I immediately checked my schedule and earmarked vacation days and said OF COURSE!! While I’ve been to South America twice in the last decade, both times for work and little free time, this will be my first time returning to the Central American tropics since around 2001…and I am STOKED!! Honduras generally, and the Lodge at Pico Bonito, specifically, have been on my short list of places I want to visit. Having crossed paths with James Adams, who runs Pico Bonito, over the last five years I know that one can expect great things around the lodge, and even more within a short drive from it. Getting to do it all with a stellar group of birders, naturalists and great writers, just sweetens the deal! So stay tuned as I blog about our adventures over the next week. In the meantime…where is the ticket agent!?

All's quiet on the United front
All’s quiet on the United front

 

Woodcreeper On The Road: POINT PELEE GETS BIRDY!

National overview

Trans-Gulf migration into the Texas coast was followed by widespread nocturnal migration across most of the country last night. Notable exceptions were the areas under the control of high pressure such as New England and the Four Corners region of the Southwestern U.S. Migration was heaviest up the central U.S. from Oklahoma to southeastern Wisconsin, and east to the Ohio Valley and Appalachian Mountains.

national composite nexrad from around 11:00pm on 5/14/13
National Composite NEXRAD from around 11:00pm on 5/14/13

Below are the radar loops from sunset last night through 5:00am (central time) this morning

Ohio/Ontario

Frames are every 1/2 hour. click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized animation.

base reflectivity image from Cleveland, OH base velocity image from Cleveland, OH

base reflectivity image from Detroit, MI base velocity image from Detroit, MI

base reflectivity image from Pittsburgh, PA base velocity image from Pittsburgh, PA

Last night was the moment we’ve all been waiting for: the levee has finally broken! Low pressure over the Great Lakes brought a series of frontal boundaries over Point Pelee last night setting up a strong southwesterly flow across the forecast region. While we would have preferred a more southerly flow (as had been forecast in previous days), the magnitude of migration to the south means that plenty of birds were over Pelee at daybreak this morning.

Looking at both the Detroit and Cleveland radars it is clear that migration density was high and birds were moving fast with a strong tailwind. The velocity images indicate SSW->NNE movement across the region, and little precipitation was present to knock birds down last night. This means birds will be widespread across the forecast area today with excellent concentrations only at tried and true spring stopover hotspots. Point Pelee will be good today, as will Rondeau and Long Point. Warming temperatures today should bring more birdsong to the region as well.

In a few words: GET OUT THERE AND BIRD!

As always, woodcreeper.com depends on you to report your sightings and be our ‘eyes on the ground’, so please come back and give us an idea of how we’re doing predicting birding conditions in your neck of the woods.

Good Birding,

David

For migration updates in other regions check-

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula - The Northwoods BIRDAR by Max Henschell
New England - Tom Auer’s blog
Florida/SE - Badbirdz Reloaded by Angel and Mariel Abreu
PA/Ohio Valley - Nemesis Bird by Drew Weber
NW Ohio - Birding the Crane Creek by Kenn Kaufman
Pac NW - Birds Over Portland by Greg Haworth
Continental US - eBird BirdCast Forecast & Report by Team eBird

Woodcreeper On The Road: POINT PELEE MIGRATION

National overview

Light trans-Gulf migration along the Texas coast was followed by heavy nocturnal migration up the central U.S. last night as the latest low pressure system swept across the Upper Midwest. Light to moderate migration was present from the Central Great Lakes down through eastern Louisiana last night, but will be higher tonight as migration conditions continue to improve to the east today. Light migration was also evident throughout the Desert Southwest and coastal California through the Pacific Northwest.

national composite nexrad from around 11:00pm on 5/13/13
National Composite NEXRAD from around 11:00pm on 5/13/13

Below are the radar loops from sunset last night through 5:00am (central time) this morning

Ohio/Ontario

Frames are every 1/2 hour. click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized animation.

base reflectivity image from Cleveland, OH base velocity image from Cleveland, OH

base reflectivity image from Detroit, MI base velocity image from Detroit, MI

base reflectivity image from Pittsburgh, PA base velocity image from Pittsburgh, PA

Birders in the western Lake Erie basin should be seeing new birds today as both the Detroit and Cleveland radars indicated light to moderate migration last night. Because Point Pelee has little direct coverage by either of the radars, we need to do some inferring from the surrounding stations in order to hypothesize about birding conditions. Looking at the Detroit radar first, birds do lift off after sunset heading from SW->NE toward Sarnia and continue on that trajectory through the early morning hours. Looking at the Cleveland radar we see the same pattern of migration from SW->NE across Lake Erie. If we presume that migration was consistent between the two radars (where we don’t actually have good coverage, birds will have been moving over Point Pelee throughout the night last night.

Weather reports suggest that no precipitation was present throughout the morning hours so fallout conditions are not expected, but new birds should be throughout the region this morning. The Pittsburgh radar tells us little about the Point Pelee area since birds were moving SW->NE towards the eastern Lake Erie basin. As winds turn more southerly today expect tonight to set up for another bigger night of migration with a more direct ‘hit’ across the western Erie basin.

As always, woodcreeper.com depends on you to report your sightings and be our ‘eyes on the ground’, so please come back and give us an idea of how we’re doing predicting birding conditions in your neck of the woods.

Good Birding,

David

For migration updates in other regions check-

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula - The Northwoods BIRDAR by Max Henschell
New England - Tom Auer’s blog
Florida/SE - Badbirdz Reloaded by Angel and Mariel Abreu
PA/Ohio Valley - Nemesis Bird by Drew Weber
NW Ohio - Birding the Crane Creek by Kenn Kaufman
Pac NW - Birds Over Portland by Greg Haworth
Continental US - eBird BirdCast Forecast & Report by Team eBird

Point Pelee, Ontario. Migration Forecast 5/13-15

I had way too much fun at Point Pelee to just walk away and not follow through with the coming migration, despite my return to Madison, Wisconsin. So, here’s the forecast as I see it:

Monday Night

Winds start out of the northwest which typically precludes migration, but they will turn southerly throughout the night which should allow birds to migrate into the region throughout the late tonight and early morning tomorrow. The magnitude of migration will depend on whether the winds slacken enough and/or how early they switch around to the south. Birds to our south have been in a holding pattern for several days so are primed to migrate, so expect them to go at the first opportunity. Expect more Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warblers, and Warbling Vireos to arrive on Tuesday as they’re quite plentiful on the south shore right now.

Here is the 925mb wind forecast for the next 192 hours: http://goo.gl/vbd7K
and here is the surface wind forecast for the same period: http://goo.gl/pXO4V
 

Tuesday

Winds will have turned southerly by Tuesday morning meaning diurnal migrants will be arriving throughout the day. Cloud cover may preclude any major arrival of soaring raptors, but the time is right for Mississippi Kite, so keep at least one eye to the sky!

Tuesday Night

Winds will have turned around to the south on Tuesday and continue to be out of the south (and southwest) throughout the night and into Wednesday morning. Expect heavy migration into (and out of) the region on Tuesday night. With no precipitation or opposing winds to put birds down on Wednesday morning, many birds will move clear over Point Pelee throughout the night. Anyone interested in nocturnal flight calls should find a sheltered location on Tuesday night to listen for birds migrating overhead.

Wednesday

By Wednesday morning expect new birds to be present throughout Point Pelee NP as well as the entire northwest shore of Lake Erie. Because of the widespread nature of the migration event, finding concentrations of birds will be more a function of geography than weather. In cases like these it’s best to hit the known spring hotspot areas, or those areas which typically hold birds in spring. Given the warm temperatures and clear skies, expect high thermal activity throughout the day. This will trigger diurnal raptor migration throughout the region and may produce some interesting birds such as Mississippi Kite.

I will continue to post the animations for the nearby radar through Wednesday morning, to see how it plays out. I will appreciate your feedback in the comments section of each post so we can both better understand the relationship between migration across the landscape and birding conditions at Point Pelee NP.

Until tomorrow morning,

Good Birding!

A well decorated Piping Plover at The Tip. Point Pelee, NP
A well decorated Piping Plover at The Tip. Point Pelee, NP

Woodcreeper On The Road: POINT PELEE DAY 3

National overview

Migration was heavy up the middle of the U.S. last night, from Texas to North Dakota. Additionally birds continued to move up through the Florida Peninsula and up the Pacific Coast, while high pressure across most of the eastern U.S. muted migration overnight.

national composite nexrad from around 11:00pm on 5/12/13
National Composite NEXRAD from around 11:00pm on 5/12/13

Below are the radar loops from sunset last night through 5:00am (central time) this morning

Ohio/Ontario

Frames are every 1/2 hour. click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized animation.

base reflectivity image from Cleveland, OH base velocity image from Cleveland, OH

base reflectivity image from Detroit, MI base velocity image from Detroit, MI

base reflectivity image from Pittsburgh, PA base velocity image from Pittsburgh, PA

Very little moved over the forecast area, as northerly flow and cold temps appear to have kept migrants on the ground last night. The Detroit radar showed no visible migration throughout the night, while both the Cleveland and Pittsburgh radars indicated a very small pulse of activity just after sunset, with the mean trajectory being SSW->NNE.

Birding throughout the region should be consistent with the last two days, as birds make only localized movements into more optimal foraging habitat today. With the cold temps and northwesterly winds, finding birds will mean finding the sheltered spots with early morning sun on them. The weather gets more interesting tonight and tomorrow night, as the next front moves into the region. As winds turn more westerly tonight we may see a push of birds into the western Eerie basin by Tuesday morning, although most of these birds will be headed northeast which favors Rondeau over Pelee. On Tuesday night the winds will turn southerly across the basin which will trigger heavy migration into the region and directly over Point Pelee. Without any forecast precipitation to bring birds down on Wednesday morning expect many of these birds to continue north of Pelee, while some of them will surely put down in the park as well. Therefore Wednesday looks to be the best chance at a bulk of new arrivals to the park. I sure wish I was going to be here then!!

As always, woodcreeper.com depends on you to report your sightings and be our ‘eyes on the ground’, so please come back and give us an idea of how we’re doing predicting birding conditions in your neck of the woods.

Good Birding,

David

For migration updates in other regions check-

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula - The Northwoods BIRDAR by Max Henschell
New England - Tom Auer’s blog
Florida/SE - Badbirdz Reloaded by Angel and Mariel Abreu
PA/Ohio Valley - Nemesis Bird by Drew Weber
NW Ohio - Birding the Crane Creek by Kenn Kaufman
Pac NW - Birds Over Portland by Greg Haworth
Continental US - eBird BirdCast Forecast & Report by Team eBird