Tuesday, September 22, 2015

East Winds for the next week

As of right now, the weather forecast is calling for winds with an easterly component for up to a week or more. East winds are generally frowned upon along the Atlantic coast during peak migration periods because they cause migrants to drift further west (*away* from the coast) as they fly.


But there can be a silver lining to these conditions. The first species that comes to mind is Northern Wheatear, a rarity that tends to appear in New England during mid-September. While we are getting towards the end of the "Wheatear Window," there is still time to bag one of these goodies. The current-and-upcoming easterly winds could make this more likely, as most/all of these autumn birds are probably coming from the Greenland-breeding population that migrates over the open Atlantic to points southeast.

We should also be considering European vagrants, particularly juvenile shorebirds (Little Stint? Common Ringed Plover? Curlew Sandpiper?). Wouldn't hurt to keep an open mind!

More likely, here in Connecticut, we can expect perhaps more Lesser Black-backed Gulls than usual (this is prime migration time for them), and should keep an eye along the coastline for seabirds that may be more likely to wander into Long Island Sound under these conditions.

It could also set up prime seawatching conditions on Cape Cod...

Let's hope for something exciting to pop up, because this easterly flow can put a real damper on the local migration.

*Addendum: Totally forgot about the most obvious shorebird in these conditions...Hudsonian Godwit!

 - Nick

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