Weather was perfect yesterday for migrating birds — cold front passage with strong winds out of the north — and Coley read the weather perfectly. Between 9 and 10am yesterday he blasted off from his nest and one of his favorite perches in Jamaica Bay to begin his migration south. In less than 9 hours he flew from New York to the coast of Virginia, hitting five states (New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virgina) and covering no less than 228 miles! His flight path was nearly a straight line south southwest. Here are some details of his first day of migration:
9-10:00 AM – Based on distance from the nest to the 10:00 am data point, he probably took off around 9:40 AM heading SSW.
10:00 AM – Just south of Rockaway Point over the Atlantic. He will not see his nest or his mate again until March 2013! Osprey pairs basically mate for life but they do not migrate together. His mate will migrate (or has migrated) at a different time and to a different destination. If they both survive the fall migration, wintering, and return spring migration, they will reunite in Jamaica Bay next year.
11:00 AM – Had already crossed the mouth of New York Harbor, flew right over Sandy Hook saying goodbye to the Gateway National Recreation Area and reached about 7.5 miles west of Long Branch, New Jersey.
3:00 PM – Probably somewhere over Delaware Bay (we have no exact data point), having flown the entire length of New Jersey.
4:00 PM – Over Delaware – somewhere.
5:00 PM – About 11 miles west of Ocean City, New Jersey.
6:00 PM – West of Chincoteague just north of Wallops Island, Virginia.
7:00 PM – For our last data point for the day, Coley was over the Atlantic Ocean about 1 2/3 miles off of Cedar Island, a Virginia barrier island, and about 6 miles East of Wachapreague, Virginia.
Clearly he was not stopping there for the night even though it was around sunset. He likely continued on toward the southern end of the eastern shore of Virginia to spend the night. Next data download will tell us where he actually spent the night.