View Full Version : Best Time For Migration On East Coast

Ed Cordes
05-15-2009, 09:12 PM
I posted this in General Photography Forum and no responses yet. I thought I would try here.

My wife and I are thinking about a driving vacation on the East Coast to various wildlife refuges probably Delaware, Virginia and maybe others. I know Fall and Winter is the migration. However I wondered what was the most likely best time? I also would like input on locations. Our ultimate goals is to visit some friends in NC with photography along the way.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Ed <!-- / message -->

Dave Woeller
05-16-2009, 09:04 PM
Hi Ed. I.m sure there are others here who can give more detailed information, but I can say that from early November on thru Jan. The Conowingo dam in Maryland is a hot spot for bald Eagles. it is not uncommon to see 50 or more adults and juveniles in a single day. Not sure who puts on a better show, the eagles or the photographers lining the shores. The dam is on the Susquehanna River near Havre De grace

Ed Cordes
05-16-2009, 09:13 PM
Dave, thanks for the response. This is good info. Unfortunately November - January is not avilable to us this year. I was hoping for something September or October. I was not sure if there was a time frame within those months that was best.

Chris Brennan
05-17-2009, 11:17 AM
Ed -

Actually, the Conowingo action usually starts to heat up in mid-October, although there are 3 or 4 resident nesting pairs in the vicinity, and they become more active in the fall. The cooler the fall temps, the sooner the migrating eagles will start to arrive. If you want more than eagles though, there's a large Great Blue Heron rookery on the island closest to the parking lot. And, on days when the dam is running water, you can almost walk across the river on the backs of zillions of gulls!

Matt Nichols
05-18-2009, 02:20 PM
Don't forget about the spring migration. Delaware and New Jerrsey have some great spots for shorebird migration at the end of May or Early June. Red knots and other shorebirds come in droves to feed on the horseshoe crabs that spawn there. Slaughter Beach is a great place to see that as well as Mispillion Lighthouse area around low tide.

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is excellent year round but during spring and fall migration is truly amazing. Tens of thosands of waterfowl can be found here in winter.

Try this link for other places to visit. You can read a bit about each place and if you don't get to check out spring and fall migration this year, try it some other time. You won't regret it.

Ed Cordes
05-18-2009, 05:55 PM
Thanks Matt. This time of the year is impossible. I book marked the link you gave me to look at later this evening.

Thanks again.

Joe Milmoe
05-18-2009, 07:30 PM

Mid Sept-Oct is the prime time for raptor migration. There are several great sites along the mid-atlantic east coast. Fall colors throughout the northeast and Shenandoah obviously abound.

Feel free to drop me a line if you're looking for specific sites.