Date: 9/13/18 8:08 am
From: bob augustine <augustinebob8...>
Subject: [MDBirding] Hurricane Birds
Hurricanes that go N through Texas sometimes deliver frigate birds (abundant along the Texas coast)to the Great Lakes. Remarkably, they can turn up as much as a month after the passage of the hurricane. Gordon went through Mississippi, but could have picked up a frigate bird. Hope for a female or immature. Three species have been recorded in the U.S., but adult males are very similar.

It matters where a hurricane has been and how fast it moves. The annual return of pelagic birds to the southern hemisphere has already taken place --as usual around Labor Day. Florence cannot contain birds from the Florida coast like hurricanes that follow the coast do. If it takes too long getting here, all the birds in it will die from exhaustion. Those trapped in the eye cannot escape. The winds in the eyewall will tear them apart. Years ago, one hurricane whose eye dissolved in the lower Chesapeake Bay had its major fallout on the Hudson River at Albany--Sooty Terns mostly.

Florence is interesting because it passed south of Bermuda and is crossing the Gulf Stream before making landfall. Some of the pelagic species found in the southern Gulf Stream could get caught in the eye or may flee west in front of the storm. These could turn up at inland lakes later. The smallest ones will be hard to see.

Birders have repeatedly found that hurricane strays usually disappear very quickly. In some cases the only birds seen were during the storm. When conditions allow, Sandy Point State Park is a good location to watch from after the storm and easy to get to. Be sure to check that the Park isn't closed. Wherever you are, be alert for the big, high-flying frigate birds, especially near water.

Think carefully before putting yourself, your car, or your equipment through the blowing sand and wind. Beware of fallen and falling trees.

Bob Augustine
Rockville, MD
13 Sept. 2018

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