Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Southern Blast- Weather and Birds/

It's 6:30 am as I wrote this. I have just gotten in from a quick trip outside and man is it windy. Not only is it windy, it's damp and humid. It kind of feels like one of those early mornings we get in early September, when under the influence of a low pressure systems that was spawned in the Caribbean. I'm as usually borderline obsessive with my checking of approaching weather systems but somehow I had failed to even notice this one. SO the first thing I did when cam in was take look at the current forecast and the weather maps. According to The Weather Network it is currently 6C, rising to 11 by afternoon, with current winds gusting to 76km/hr from the SW. All of that looks like this on a weather map.

There are two things to notice about the above chart. First look how tight the isobars are packed around Newfoundland, this indicates that the winds will be rather intense. Secondly, note the origin of these isobars. They reach all the way to South Carolina and even Florida.

Another important point is where is the system itself originated. This system is actually a combination of a series of low pressure system's that only a day ago stretched from Texas to southern Ontario. This is the same system that brought strong wind, severe thunder storms and even a couple of Tornado warnings to Ontario. Here is the weather map from about 24 hours ago.

Note the line of low pressure stretching from Mexico to southern Ontario, with a low centered in Ontario. I wonder what if anything was dropped there after this storm?

Anyway, you can analyze weather maps until you are blue inteh face, but how does all this relate to birding? Well in order to answer that question a little background knowledge is needed. We need to have an idea of what birds are possible and we get this information two ways, or I do at least. first I check the birding list servs for the eastern seaboard to see what's on the move. For example, yesterday I noted that there was a flock of almost 30 Snowy Egrets in New York, apparently a one day high for the particular location. A little farther to the north in New Brunswick I saw that 100+ Brown-headed Cowbirds were seen at a feeder on a offshore island. By researching what's happening to our south, we can then get an idea about what fast moving systems that sweep through these areas could bring our way.

After you know what might be on it's way it never hurts to look at historical data from your own region. I do this by doing searching through the nf.bird ( our local bird list serv) archives. Doing this will give you can idea of what has happened in the past at this time of year, allowing you to form a precedent and get a further idea of what might be possible.

So, now that I have an idea of what might be headed our way there is only one thing left to do- go find some birds! So, today and tomorrow I'll be out checking the various hot spots, fields, marshes and feeders and hopefully my research and preparation will pay off!

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