[TN-Bird] Plan for Isabel coverage now in East TN.

  • From: Wallace Coffey <jwcoffey@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: 1-A TN-Birds <tn-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2003 21:49:33 -0300

East Tennessee Birders:

The approach of Hurricane Isabel to the Atlantic coast is  projected by
modeling to be close enough to possibly bring good seabirds and others into
Tennessee.  Certainly the reservoirs and river systems along our state's
mountains are good possibilites as the storm makes possible landfall late
this week.

Now is a good time to make plans for coverage and to start thinking who can
be where to take a look.

Some of the following comments are copied for a posting today by Ned
Brinkley on the Virginia listserv and some are from his comments in a post
seven years ago.  Ned is one of the nation's most respected students of bird
movements in relationship to hurricane landfalls in the Eastern U.S.

If  if the computer model forecasts are even close to accurate, we could have 
a landfalling major hurricane at the Virginia or North Carolina coast this
week.  We could be feeling the effects of the storm in as few as three days.
Our common hope is that this terrible storm stays offshore and causes no
damage to people or property.  

The various models tend to converge, currently, on a landfall somewhere near 
Hatteras Village, North Carolina, with the storm moving up the sound country 
into southeastern Virginia, along the Chesapeake Bay toward Washington, DC,
and into Pennsylvania.  

To see this model on the web, try:




The latter shows the possibility of a turn more to the north, with landfall 
possibly in New England; it's still far too soon to predict landfall, of 

We don't want this storm to come ashore.  

Naturally, if the storm does make landfall, it will carry with it thousands 
of seabirds and shorebirds of many sorts, as well as impacting other birds, 
especially Neotropical migrants, negatively.  Because these storms in the past 
have produced startling bird records in Virginia, North Carolina and
Northeast Tennessee, we want to be on the lookout. 

Be very careful with bad weather conditions anywhere in Tennessee. Personal
safety should be our utmost concern; no bird sighting is worth 
risking life and limb.  

Most people on this net, and most people in the eastern United States,
would not be confronted with a direct coastal hit but rather a storm passing
inland and usually deteriorating.

 It is not possible to find birds during the passage of a storm's rainy
outer edges in most cases, so there is no point in standing out in heavy rain
and high winds in any case.  Many interesting pelagic species have been
found on  inland lakes, some of which remained for the following day.

Immediately following the storm is the best time to be afield in any case
and for a day or so afterwards in East Tennessee.
Large inland lakes are obviously places where many seabirds and storm-driven
birds might show up.  Most terns do not stay long --sometimes a few hours at
most --whereas tubenoses may remain longer.  Areas to the east and northeast
of the eye's path of passage appear to be the most productive, but the
White-tailed Tropicbird in Staunton, VA, was well west of the eye's passage
through the Virginia Piedmont, so there is no reason not to check mountain
water areas thoroughly.

This is to start everyone thinking about possible birding opportunities and
reminding all to make safety a priority if we have serious inland winds or
rains from the powerful Hurricane Isabel.

Keep your thinking caps on.

Let's go birding....

Wallace Coffey
Bristol, TN

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  • » [TN-Bird] Plan for Isabel coverage now in East TN.