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.
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.