Posted by: woodcreeper | September 27, 2007 @ 6:05 am

Big migration over Florida


Wow! Last night was a big one. Too bad the radar folks can’t get their act together and fix the Key West radar feed. Anyway, here’s the Miami and composite radar from sunset last night through sunrise this morning.

Frames are every 1/2 hour for reflectivity and velocity, and every hour for the regional composite. Click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized animation.

Base Reflectivity image from Miami, FL Base Velocity image from Miami, FL Composite base reflectivity for the Southeastern USA

Winds over Florida shifted around from NE to NW overnight, which provided optimal migration conditions through morning. Most movement across the radar as of 5:30am was from NW–>SE with the exception of birds along the west coast which were moving more N–>S. Birds launched off of the panhandle coast and west coast into the Gulf last night, and I would suspect that birds launched into the Straits from the Keys and South Florida had we been able to see the Key West radar.

Last night’s migration should be a recipe for good birding conditions at most Fall migrant traps this morning. With the amount of birds moving down both coasts, I’d expect all coastal locations to harbor new birds. Again, with all the N–>S movement over the state as well, inland sites should be hopping (or “chipping”?) with new activity. For Southeast Florida, I’d bet that Cape Florida would have some pretty heavy bird activity given the storms still lingering offshore and the NE–>SW movement on the radar this morning. Okay, that’s my two-cents from afar- now you go prove me right! (or wrong!)

Good Birding! 🙂


  1. There were many warblers flying across Old Cutler Rd. on the drive to work this morning. A brief (5 minute) stop on the east side of Matheson Hammock produced several warblers and R-E Vireos, but not in “big” fallout numbers. Roughly 1/2 dozen warblers seen or heard. Possibly the warblers came in good numbers overnight, but spread out over large areas and did not concentrate in a single location. A stop yesterday on the west side produced only one small flock which included a Nashville Warbler.

  2. Maddog was veggin’ today so Liz and I were ready at SFBO, pliers in hand and bags in pockets at 7 AM. We left the park at 4:45 PM after a great day of banding, albeit much slower than Speed Bander. Comparing with my brief visit late yesterday, we believe that today’s birds were part of the mass moving down the peninsula, as noted on Badbirdz. Still Caribbean in nature, this new influx of birds included thrushes and Magnolias. It seems that most of the Black-throated Blues, Cape Mays and Northern Waterthrushes were replaced by Red-eyed Vireos, Ovenbirds and more redstarts. As typical with the radar pattern seen ~5:30 AM, we had a surge of birds in late morning. We think that they come in off the ocean and make their way west toward the hammock area. A verbose way of saying “Yep” to ground truthing.

  3. Thank you David for the bird radar and park suggestion…

    We met up with Dan at Bill Baggs Cape FL this afternoon to bird from about 4:45pm to 7:15pm. We only had time to bird a portion of the park so we decided to head towards the youth camp area that neither of us have ever birded before. Good thing we did because there we found lots of bird activity everywhere including a Wood Pewee demonstrating its fly catching skills.
    As Angel & Dan were taking pictures of a female American Redstart (pic above) I saw movement in the trees directly behind where we were standing in front of and low and behold a beautiful Yellow-billed Cuckoo! I quickly showed Angel & Dan before it dropped down out of sight. Exciting find for us only our second time ever spotting one and also a year bird!
    As we were were on our way to the salt water marsh trail we observed a beautiful Yellow-throated Warbler and at one point an Ovenbird flew directly in front of me. We spotted a few Marsh Rabbits along the trail.

    A group of Merlins treated us to an awesome display of speed and accuracy. One of the Merlin came within 10-15 feet away from us flying fast and low. Closest we have seen a Merlin, it was a great moment. At one point there were 5 perched in one tree and 2 others soaring above. The most we have ever seen at one time! We even observed a Merlin perched tearing apart its meal. It was awesome! Today was a 10 warbler day in only 2 1/2 hours.

    Here is a list below:

    7 Merlin
    4 American Kestrel
    2 Osprey
    1 Eastern Wood Pewee
    1 Yellow-billed Cuckoo
    11 American Redstart (4 male & 7 female)
    9 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
    7 Cape May Warbler
    2 Prairie Warbler
    12 Palm Warbler (bobbing about)
    2 Northern Parula
    1 Ovenbird
    8 Black-throated Blue Warbler (all male)
    1 Yellow-throated Warbler
    3 Black-and-White Warbler
    1 Red-eyed Vireo
    10 N. Mockingbird
    2 Eastern Kingbird
    2 Magnificent Frigatebird (soaring overhead)
    10 Cardinal (saw 2 and heard many others calling along the way)
    1 Great Blue Heron
    1 Brown Pelican

    We really enjoyed our afternoon despite the millions of gnats.

    Looking forward to this Sunday TAS walk with Toe.

    We will be searching the sky tonight for migration!
    Thank you again David!

    Nature is Awesome!
    Angel & Mariel

  4. It was very quiet at Maitland Community Park on Thursday morning. There were a few Swainson’s Thrushes and Baltimore Orioles. I only managed to scare up one warbler, a male Black-throated Blue, in two hours of birding.


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