New York and Philadelphia Bird Migration Forecast: 5 – 12 October 2012

Andrew Farnsworth The Cornell Lab Oct 04, 2012

Low pressure North and then East of the Great Lakes spawns moderate to heavy movements across the area on Friday 5 October and Saturday 6 October. Those in quieter areas should hear Gray-cheeked and Swainson’s Thrushes dominating the acoustic scene, with the first more substantial numbers of Hermit Thrushes, as well as Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers, and White-throated, Savannah, and Chipping Sparrows.┬áNote that some weather forecasts have suggested that a strong chance of rain exists on Sunday and Sunday night with northerly winds. Birders should watch for these conditions. This combination of conditions creates major urban fallouts, high bouts of nocturnal flight calling, and highly visible nocturnal migration atop lighted buildings in urban areas. A pair of binoculars scanning lighted areas above buildings should see silhouettes of passing migrants clearly, at or below building heights, if these conditions occur.┬áDepending on the occurrence of precipitation, good nocturnal movements may continue into Monday, but lighter and more variable winds begin to moderate movements across the area. Clear skies, southerly and southwesterly flow prevail from Monday through Wednesday, suggesting primarily light to moderate and generally diminishing movements each night in most areas. City parks in metro New York and Philadelphia should hold on to many of the birds migrating into the area during the weekend, including increasing numbers of sparrows, kinglets, and later migrants and substantially smaller numbers of straggling warblers and typically early season migrants. Low pressure ramps up and moves through the region on Wednesday night, bringing a major wind shift. Birders should watch this system carefully, as it has the potential to pass through in the early evening, with northwesterly winds but remnant low cloud ceiling and precipitation associated with the frontal passage. Thursday should see a nice morning flight along coastlines and ridgelines, so birders should watch for flocks of blackbirds and finches, perhaps growing numbers of Pine Siskins, and continued strong flights of Northern Flickers, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and more common later fall migrants like Eastern Phoebe, sparrows, and kinglets. Thursday’s strong northerlies or northwesterlies blow migrating raptors toward Manhattan and Philadelphia. Watch for continued passage of Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks, Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks, American Kestrels and Merlins, Turkey Vultures, and perhaps even a Golden Eagle or two. Additionally, sky watchers from western NJ north and east through the Hudson Highlands should watch their skies for similarly composed raptor movements.