[CT Birds] Morning Radar

Roy Harvey rmharvey at snet.net
Tue Aug 9 07:29:43 EDT 2011

I just took a peak at the radar and thought what was there was interesting enough to share.

At the usual site, http://weather.rap.ucar.edu/radar/, I made the usual selections of Regional reflectivity, Today, Most recent (as of just before 7AM), and then for Loop duration chose 2 hours.  And then clicked on the map right at the blue letters at Long Island.  This generates (some computers or browsers have problems) a 33 image animation covering a two-hour span.

It starts with a bit of migrating bird activity (looks speckled) which diminishes to nothing in short order.  Then, around 0945 UTC (same as GMT, Greenwich Mean Time, or 5:45 EDT), all along the CT coast from around Stamford to Old Lyme (more or less) a narrow but intense band appears.  It grows broader (farther inland) and longer (the entire CT coast, but most intense where it started) until around 1028 UTC, then starts to diminish.  When it is at its peak another band can be seen in eastern CT, running North/South (about like I-395), with a hot spot in MA just north of the NE corner of CT.  The hot spot seems to correspond to Lake Chaubunagungamaug, more or less.

I assume this has to be gulls, terns and shorebirds starting their day.

While there is a bit of the same on the south shore of LI, a lot along the southern half of the Jersey shore, and nothing at all in Rhode Island and Cape Cod, it would be a mistake to draw to much comparison with what is visible for CT.  The radar map combines different radar data from the different areas, and each radar could be tuned differently to see more or fewer birds.  Likewise, distance from the radar makes a big difference; I suspect that the south shore of LI showed up so much lighter than the CT coast in part because both are seen by the radar on LI, and the south shore was too close for the birds to be seen.

Roy Harvey
Beacon Falls, CT

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