Saturday, November 22, 2014

Is it too late for Cave Swallows?

Not according to the calendar. In past years we have experienced major incursions of Cave Swallows into the 20s of November. One of the first big incursions to CT occurred on November 23, 2002. For a big Cave Swallow event here in New England you usually need two things to happen: 1) a strong SW flow directly from Texas to the Great Lakes region followed by NW winds to push them to the coast, and 2) a successful breeding year for the species at the northern edge of its range. Without the wind, the swallows don't have that extra tailwind they need to make it all the way up here. And without the breeding success there is not a large pool of young birds that are more likely to take the "scenic route" to their wintering grounds.

I have no idea how Cave Swallows did this past summer in the Texas/Oklahoma region. But I do know that we have had not had any decent Cave Swallow setup weather this month. Not surprisingly there have been zero eBird records of Cave Swallow from New England this autumn season.

There may still be some hope. Upon checking the weather this morning I saw that there is a bit of a SW flow forecast on-and-off for the next few days. This is nothing classic...no strong winds and not a "direct" path for very long. BUT it is better than anything we've seen so far this month.

Current US weather on the morning of Nov 22 - a weak SW flow in the target area

If the forecast holds our one shot at Cave Swallow around here will probably come sometime next week. If it doesn't happen then, we'll have to wait for 2015.

 - NB

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