Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The latest on Hurricane Florence and rainy, cool weather here

Hurricane Florence projected path as of 2PM, Sep 11, 2018 (courtesy of  NHC)
It now seems almost certain that Hurricane Florence will make landfall somewhere in the southeast with the most likely spot somewhere in the North or South Carolina.  It has continued to regain strength and is now a Category 4 storm and is forecast to make landfall early Friday morning as a Category 3 or 4 storm which would bring catastrophic damage to the area that it strikes.  After landfall it should rapidly weaken to a tropical storm but due to no real atmospheric mechanism in place to move it alone with will slow down and dump copious amounts of rain inland resulting in severe flooding.  The storm looks to be too far away to have any real impact in the northeast at this point.  The storm is certain to displace and down a number of species and it will be interesting to see what turns up over the next several days.  I imagine some incredible species will make appearances that one can only find inland following the arrival of tropical systems.  There are a few examples of similar storms hitting this area of the country including Hurricane Hugo back in 1989 and Hurricane Fran in 1996.  Hurricane Hugo was a devastating storm that brought severe damage well inland but nonetheless some people were able to get out to see some storm birds with the following examples from that storm: Jordan Lake in North CarolinaLake Norman in North Carolina.  Hurricane Fran produced some incredible inland records of multiple species at large bodies of water and this storm is almost certain to produce similar reports.  A few examples include John Kerr Reservoir in VirginiaJordan Lake in North CarolinaAuman Lake in North Carolina
American Golden Plover, Holyoke Dam, South Hadley, MA, Sep 10, 2018
American Golden Plover and Spotted Sandpiper, Holyoke Dam, South Hadley, MA, Sep 10, 2018
Double crested Cormorant, Holyoke Dam, South Hadley, MA, Sep 10, 2018
Northern Harrier, Hatfield, MA, Sep 10, 2018
Dawn, Honey Pot, Hadley, MA, Sep 10, 2018
Winsor Dam, Quabbin Park, MA, Sep 11, 2018
Before the remnants of Gordon arrived yesterday Devin and I went out to see what we could find on another rather cool and breezy day.  The forecast had called for rain arriving before dawn but it did not materialize until late in the morning so no luck for us finding any birds put down by the weather.  Nonetheless we still turned up some good stuff for the morning including four Great Egrets at the Honey Pot, a Northern Harrier and a couple Osprey in Hatfield and at least 145 Chimney Swifts, an American Golden Plover and a couple Yellow Warblers at the Holyoke Dam.  We managed to add two new species to Devin's county list for the year (the plover and Mute Swans) as he heads toward his goal of 200 species for the year.  The rain finally arrived late in the morning and continued throughout the remainder of the day and into today.  I stayed local this morning staying around Quabbin Park which was quite quiet with not many birds in evidence which was not really a surprise given the conditions of drizzle and cool temps.

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