No migration last night & winterizing the website

Nothing was moving last night over the mid-Atlantic last night as we remain entrenched in the southerlies from a large low over southern Canada.

As you might have figured out by now, my posting has gotten a little inconsistent over the last week. A bunch of things ranging from the trials of raising two kids, lots of work building up before our big move to Wisconsin in December, and my wife trying to finish her PhD dissertation before we leave, have all made it next to impossible to keep up with woodcreeper.com on a daily basis. I’m just glad I got through the ‘busy season’ of September! So, I’m going to call it a season right now and reserve the right to post updates during peak migration events only. You have several very painless options if you want immediate notification of a new post. 1) subscribe to the RSS feed for the site, 2) ‘follow me’ on Twitter (@woodcreeper) and/or 3) ‘friend’ our Facebook page here. Every time I ‘tweet’ about migration (which includes every time I update this site), it automatically updates on the Facebook site.

As is customary this time of year, I will pass the hat around to pay the bills.

The community that has formed around this site over the last eight years has been astounding. You are the reason it works as well as it does, and your contributions are what has kept me going on many a blurry-eyed morning. Now I’m looking to YOU to help keep Woodcreeper.com online.

You can use the Paypal button below to join the Woodcreeper Flock:

Or, if you’d rather not use Paypal, you may send a check or money order to the following address:

David La Puma
500 Fern Rd
Villas, NJ 08251

The idea here is to keep woodcreeper.com going for the “long haul” by making it self sustainable. As of right now I don’t know whether I will continue woodcreeper.com running next year, at least in the format that you’ve recognized over the last 7 years. Moving to Wisconsin may mean a change of focus for the website, or may just mean that it sits idle for awhile; as a reference for migration events between 2004 and 2011. Either way I still need to pay the hosting fees which support all of the online storage and serving of the data to each of us. Feel free to contact me via email (david AT woodcreeper.com) or via snail-mail at the above address with any comments or suggestions; I always enjoy hearing from you.

Cheers, and Good Birding,
David

YELLOW-RUMPS; INCOMING!

It’s that time of year again. 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

Heavy migration was apparent last night throughout the northeast and mid-Atlantic US. Upper level winds were in the 10-20kt range and mostly blowing from NW->SE except for the southern part of the region which experienced lighter (5-10kt) winds from the NNE. Surface winds were light and variable up to 5kts out of the NNE for most of the region. These conditions set the stage for a textbook late-fall migration event and should result in an excellent morning flight of Yellow-rumped Warblers at the Higbee dike. Otherwise expect migrants to be dispersed across the landscape today with the highest concentrations at Sandy Hook (early in the day), Cape May (especially good), and inland traps such as Chimney Rock and along the Delaware River. Diversity of warblers will be way down by now, with the vast majority being Yellow-rumps, but sparrow diversity will be up across the region.

Good Birding

David

Pesky low part deux

There’s a low pressure system currently parked right over us and its position has resulted in little to no migration into or out of NJ last night. Here’s the radar from 7:30pm 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

So I guess we’ll call this the ‘best case scenario’ given the number of birds around the state yesterday and the fact that few appear to have left overnight. As the low pressure system churned counterclockwise overhead last night, the region experienced northeast winds to our north, wrapping around to southerly flow to our west, and finally westerly flow to our south.

This resulted in birds over western NY and all of PA heading SSW, birds on the Delmarva heading SE, and the near total avoidance of NJ by migratory birds. The NJ radars bare this out as well as only a few targets appeared to be moving southbound last night, the majority of these heading out from extreme southern NJ. Looking at the NYC radar it appears that no southbound migration occurred out of Long Island which should mean little to no additional birds at Sandy Hook today. Whether the birds that were there yesterday decided to stick around remains to be seen (SW surface winds currently over Sandy Hook suggest that maybe they will have).

Okay, so that’s the broad-scale view of what went on last night… but as we often say around here: a big migration event doesn’t always result in great birding conditions, and conversely, it only takes a small number of birds under the right conditions to make for a great day of birding. West winds over the Delaware Bay today should again bring some new birds into Cape May this morning. West winds also mean that any birds engaging in redirected morning flight should be concentrating along the eastern Delaware Bay shoreline and working their way north. This usually means good viewing conditions at the Higbee dike and points north along the shore. With very few birds moving last night I don’t expect a large morning flight- but given the number of birds around yesterday there could be a lag effect for birds who arrived two days ago but were not ready to engage in morning flight yesterday. Expect birds in lower numbers than yesterday, but providing good looks at the dike today.

Again, since there were really good numbers of migrants around yesterday I would expect a good portion of these are still around today and so birding the currently-hot-spots (for Cape May that means the elms around Lilly Lake, the fields at Higbees, etc.) should yield some exciting moments. Elsewhere around the state birding should be good wherever it was good yesterday with some possibility that birds have shifted into more optimal foraging habitat. Please post your observations if and when you have a chances so we can better understand how this lack of broad-scale migration is reflected on the ground.

Good Birding

David

A late trickle and tomorrow’s forecast

Last night and early this morning we saw the latest cold front move over the region and out to sea. While migration was apparent throughout the evening over western NY, the east coast experienced only a small 9th-inning rally once the winds turned WNW today. Here’s the radar from 7:30pm last night through 5:30am 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

Check out the regional composite where you can visualize the migration event occurring early in the night to our west, and moving eastward behind the passing frontal boundary. Looking at the individual velocity loops for DE, NJ and NYC you can seen that for most of the night target direction was SW->NE. As the front pushes offshore, though, you can see the trajectory of those targets turn clockwise until all are moving from the NW->SE. Looking back at the reflectivity you can see that the early images are made up primarily of dense precipitation, while the later ones (where the direction of movement becomes NW->SE) are dominated by light to moderate bird migration.

Birding-wise, this migration event is probably too small to produce any significant concentrations of birds, although because of the NW nature of the winds expect coastal migrant traps to be the best bet for picking out new birds. I expect Cape May to harbor a few new arrivals this morning… although, if you’re planning a quick work-week excursion, I would head for the coast tomorrow morning when a much larger flight is expected. On that note, stay tuned for a twitter update tonight as this should be the first big flight of the season!

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