We’ve been paying close attention to an area of low pressure that has been gaining steam in the Bay of Campeche and threatens to block migrants way to Mexico via the Caribbean. This disturbance has continued organize and is now TD #9. As we continue to monitor the movement of this storm we realize that birds should be headed south along the Appalachians and the eastern seaboard given current winds.
Tailwinds are a birds best friend and currently cool northerly winds are in effect. If migrants do indeed take flight, we feel birds will attempt to make long distance flights in hopes of making up for lost time. After the last semi-strong cold front passage, subpar migration conditions have loomed over much of eastern migratory flyway. This has caused many migrants to be stranded, awaiting optimal winds to continue with migration. As conditions gradually improve, birds should be taking to the skies. This could spark long flights from birds that are farther north than they would like to be by now.
Migrants leaving southern GA and northern FL could take a cue from winds and try that long flight, if so they will run into a large area of unfavorable migration conditions over South FL. TD #9 may fall apart, but the heavy precipitation is still forecast to move north into South FL. If this scenario takes place, we feel that a stack up of sorts could take place. Migrants will be forced to land and wait for better conditions which could take some time to clear according to weather forecast models.
So long story short: Birds should be on the wing. With the aid of a tailwind and clear skies, birds may attempt longer flights. Once over South FL, migrants will likely be met with harsh conditions which should cause them to suspend migration. Northerly winds will continue to give migrants to the north a push down the state, only adding to the number of migrants down on the ground awaiting better conditions. We call this a “Stack-up”, it usually involves waves of migrants headed south while waves of precipitation move north into the path of migration causing great concentrations of migrants at migrant traps.
Take a look at the following forecast maps. Notice the increasing amount precipitation moving in from the south while winds continue to be optimal for migration to our north. We expect some good birding days for the last days of October and beginning of November. Get out there and enjoy these migrants as they try head south for the winter.