After many days of speculation, Hurricane Sandy is making landfall in southern NJ later this evening, slated to progress west over Delaware Bay and into western Maryland and southern Pennsylvania by Tuesday morning. As specified in greater detail in the eBird story, most of the potential for exotic, entrained species lies along this path from the New Jersey coastline through central southern Pennsylvania. Beginning on Tuesday the remnants of the circulation move north and east over central New York, and then into Lake Ontario and off into the St Lawrence River valley by Thursday. Any entrained species that do not fallout in the initial landfall and following 24 hours may appear in this hot zone from southern Pennsylvania through the St Lawrence River valley.
Beginning today, many displaced birds are already appearing along coastal and near coastal locations. This pattern will continue through the breadth of the landfall event from DelMarVa north through portions of New England. The eBird story discusses this in more detail. With landfall occurring after dark, and rain continuing with southeasterly and then southerly winds in coastal Long Island north through the Cape, many of the displaced hordes will continue to move, be it up river in the Delaware and Hudson River systems, around the North and South Forks of Long Island, or around Cape Cod. Birders should watch for these typically coastal species on their displacement up river and their returns down river later on Tuesday, Wednesday, and even Thursday as well as in coastal estuarine systems.
Additionally, if some of the more exotic, entrained species appear beyond the initial landfall + 24 hours, there is a chance for them to appear upon return to the ocean via major riverine systems in the Northeast. Presumably the Delaware River is the most likely to experience this type of movement, but the Hudson and Connecticut Rivers are worth watching carefully in the days that follow the passage of the storm.
Given the unique combination of attributes for this storm, many of our expectations about hurricanes and birds may be overturned. Please submit all of your sightings to eBird so we can record this epic and unprecedented event. And above all, please remember to be safe and smart when birding in the storm like this!