Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Pulling the Trigger On Saturday, November 14


[ Look at all those pretty wind flags pointing up and left. . . = northwest winds (i.e. from the NW. I.e., migrant birds in fall. Look at those clearing skies and cool temperatures.]

I will be absolutely astonished if this Saturday, November 14, 2020 does not prove to be an extraordinary day for viewing migrant birds in the mid-Atlantic. So leave the leaves on the lawn where they belong and go birding.

 Twain wrote, “Predictions are hard, especially when they concern the future.” But the handwriting is all over the weather and the season:
1.    Mid-November: time for short-distance migrants (sparrows, yellow-rumps, others), big American Robin flights, big raptors (buteos, Golden Eagles, Northern Goshawks). Major spectacle factor is possible, and truth be told I'd pick that over rare birds anytime.

2.    An excellent irruption year for finches, especially Pine Siskins, Evening Grosbeaks, and Purple finches, plus Red-breasted Nuthatches and others.

3.    A pronounced movement of birds eastward out of the Rockies, and prairies; watch for things like Type 10 Red Crossbills, Townsend’s Solitaire, others. Hek, a Stellar’s Jay showed up in I think Illinois! Think about Smith's Longspur, Leconte's Sparrow, Pacific-slope or Cordilleran flycatcher. [UPDATE: Franklin's Gulls are being seen in numbers in the Great Lakes today, November 11.]

4.    That wacky Rhode Island Common Cuckoo flew the coop. They winter in Africa. It's going south.

5.    An extended period of poor migration weather. Saturday November 7 was okay, Sunday November 8 was lackluster, Monday November 9 featured a bunch of raptors flying around in Cape May wondering “what’s with this warm, south wind stuff?” South-southwest and warm through Wednesday (today), now rain forecast through Friday.

6.    South winds and warm may have brought vagrants from the south and southwest to points north of us. These will now want to move south again with the changing weather. Ash-throated Flycatcher is the most obvious candidate, but there are others, e.g. Vermilion Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, other yellow-bellied kingbirds, others. . [UPDATE: A Common Ground Dove was photographed at Cedar Bonnet Island, Manahawkin (off route 72) today, November 11.]

7.    Per the above graph, winds coming around perfectly Friday afternoon and staying there all night and all day Saturday.

Can’t miss.

Where to go? ANYWHERE! Including your favorite local patch, inland or coastal. But, in NJ anyway, I’d be thinking Sandy Hook, Island Beach, Stone Harbor (the Bird Sanctuary and Hereford Inlet Lighthouse), Cape Island, or “my” patch, which is Del Haven, Fishing Creek Marsh, Norbury’s Landing, and Green Greek Marsh. Which is where I’ll start.

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