Saturday, November 5, 2011

Texas express?

UPDATE Nov 9th: It now looks as if Friday is the best-looking day for Cave Swallows along the CT coast in the short-term, as it will be the only day with NW wind here (potentially quite potent, which is good). The overall setup has continued to be unimpressive, but since we're entering that peak time for these birds, it may be enough to produce a few along the coast.

Tim Spahr of MA pointed out to me that next week may be more promising...indeed it looks like we'll see a more prolonged period of SW flow, more in line with classic Cave Swallow invasions of recent years. If followed by NW winds, it could be very interesting. But that's well down the road. Plenty of time for things to change.

ORIGINAL POST:


While at Lighthouse Point on Friday, Paul Roberts mentioned that we would be seeing some SW winds this week. During the month of November us birders in the northeast look for weather patterns like this one - a straight-line SSW flow from Texas to the Great Lakes. It is this pattern that ushers Cave Swallows and other reverse migrants from the southwest to the northeast. In short, these winds carry swallows (and others, hopefully) into the Great Lakes region. Then, the NW winds that often follow the passage of a cold front push the same birds to concentrate along the east coast.

That would be the ideal scenario, anyway. But this is not a terribly impressive forecast. These SSW winds are moderate but not very strong, and they will apparently be even weaker by the time the front moves eastward. Still, we have an OK setup here with a local mid-week warmup, then late-week cold front. I've seen several more promising setups than this, but the way Cave Swallows are trending up in recent years, it should be enough to deliver at least a few to southern New England.

Let's say they arrive here next weekend behind the cold front.

- Nick

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