The flood gates will open

In a matter of a few days, those of us in the southern New England/Tri State area are going to see a slow trickle of migrants quickly turn into a full onslaught. We'll go from seeing mainly Yellow-rumps and Palms to certainly 10+ warbler species (still with plenty of 'rumps and Palms though!).

The spring passerine migration typically accelerates into full swing as the calendar changes from April to May, and this year the weather will exaggerate this rapid change. A slow-moving low has dropped rain on us for the past couple days, backing up birds to our south. The storm is clearing out now, but gusty NW winds will likely keep migration slow until late in the week when winds shift to the SW and we get a shot of summer warmth.

Right now it's looking like tonight will be too cool and windy to promote much migration. Tomorrow night will be a bit warmer and less windy, but still conditions won't be ideal. One would expect Thursday night to be the first night of large movement, and conditions will be even better Friday and Saturday nights.

If you enjoy the spring passerines (and who doesn't), take care of your chores early this week so you can get out and play Friday through Sunday.

As an aside, this weather change will coincide with the best time of the migration period for many southern overshoots. This group includes Prothonotary Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Swainson's Warbler (mega rare), Summer Tanager, and Blue Grosbeak.

- NB


  1. Thanks for the info on the weather. I'll get out early this weekend.

  2. Tonight (Thurs nite) the winds will start NW and breezy but may shift to being light out of the WSW overnight. Depending on when that shift occurs, we may get a wave of migrants for Friday morning. Otherwise, we'll have to wait until Sat & Sun.

  3. So, East Rock Park on Saturday morning should have at least a few birds, yes? I am in a quandary. Should I travel south to CT shore area or east to Ma hot spots( Parker River, Mt Auburn. Perhaps I'll toss a coin. Great web site.

  4. Thanks Carpist. Yep, East Rock should have birds on Saturday. As far as East Rock versus eastern MA, I did my undergrad in eastern MA so I've birded up there at this time of year. In general, Mount Auburn and PI seem to be about 5 days behind East Rock in migration. Since we're early in the migration, I think that ERP would offer a better chance at more variety. After May 15, northeast MA would likely have more variety.

    On the other hand, you're going to get better looks at birds at Mount Auburn thanks to the trees being so isolated. There's only so many places they can hide. At ERP you'd be looking up into a true canopy, which might be pretty dense already given the advanced foliage this year.

  5. Thanks for the Giant Steps tip. Had 14 FOY birds there this morning. Most of the birds were in the flock that arrived around 6:30am and vaporized around an hour later.All were in the canopy. ( except Carolina wren ) Were they just chowing down and then continuing on their way north?


  6. Was nice to run into you Carpist. Glad you were able to enjoy the migrant wave that morning. It was pretty good, but the best is yet to come.

    The birds we saw may have been drifting north as they fed, gearing up for another night of northward migration.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Warblers in Flight: A Photographic Collection

Last winter's gull review

Guest Post by Tim Spahr: Finding Connecticut Warblers in Fall Migration