Posted by: woodcreeper | April 5, 2008 @ 6:30 am

Big migration over Florida

Wow.. what a difference a little southerly wind can make! Even southeast Florida should feel the effects of this one 🙂
Here’s the radar from sunset last night through 5:30am this morning.

Note that the radar mode changed from PRECIP to CLEAR AIR during the night, which changes the sensitivity and therefore makes migration appear more dense (although you could also argue that it picks up more birds).

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

The radar shows a large flight of migrants leaving Cuba just after sunset and arriving along the south coast early this morning. It appears that one part of this wave broke for the Gulf coast, while another made landfall along the southern Florida coast, with some birds wrapping around to the southeast. A wave from the Bahamas appears to have augmented the eastern flight such that an increased density of new birds should be apparent at southeast locations today.

I guess with east winds persisting, east coast locations may get bypassed by flyovers, but inland sites (such as AD Barnes Park and Matheson Hammock) should see an increase in birds. Of course, the west coast still has the advantage of picking up birds leaving the eastern and central part of the state, as well as the Caribbean migrants that headed into the Gulf.

Heavy migration was apparent across the northern part of the state, with birds heading northward on a strong southerly tailwind. With no precipitation to concentrate birds, the best bets for birding up north will be the tried and true spring migrant traps. With southwest winds in the gulf, it’s possible that some trans-gulf migrants will make landfall in the extreme western panhandle, but conditions were not optimal so confidence is low.

Okay- I’m done waving my hands- go prove me wrong! (or right)

Good Birding


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  1. Very strange! The bird walk this morning in Cape Florida turned into a lizard ramble due to *complete* lack of birds. Almost all wintering species seem to be gone. I’d love to know what was on the radar loop early this morning.

  2. April 6 at 11 AM. Thought the rain might help, but Barnes was dead this morning.


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