Posted by: woodcreeper | April 6, 2008 @ 6:54 am

Birds and weather

An interesting migration event last night may have lead to small fallouts in Southeast Florida and the Keys. Here’s the radar from sunset last night through 6:30am.

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

After checking the radar it appears that as migrants from Cuba made landfall in the Keys and Southeast Florida (winds were from the SW), the band of thunderstorms associated with the front effectively shut down migration and caused birds to land. This has the potential to result in fallout conditions along the frontal edge.

In northwest Florida migration proceeded unabated in a SW–>NE trajectory so birding conditions in that area will be best at tried-and-true migrant traps.

Any and all reports from the field would be appreciated… now I’m going back to sleep (just rain and no migration up here in New Jersey!)

Good Birding


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  1. Great prediction, David! I was disappointed during my Cape Florida survey until I hit the lighthouse area at the extreme tip of the island. Bingo! At 9:30 I found a concentrated flock of ~70 warblers frantically feeding, most very low in the vegetation. From the manner of foraging and tightness of the flock, I deduced that they had recently arrived. After 30 minutes the flock dispersed a bit, foraging more deliberately and higher in the trees. A few Prairies and Northern Parulas started singing. The make-up of the flock was ~33 Prairie, 15 Palm, 9 Worm-eating, 4 American Redstart, 3 Northern Parula and 1 Northern Waterthrush. I added more of same warbler species as I moved through the park, but aside from 3 Merlins, it was ho-hum. After yesterday’s Hooverized trails, it was great to see some bird action.

  2. Hey David
    We birded in W. Palm Beach today and had small groups of warblers that were new arrivals. Yesterday our friend Carl was at the same location only seeing two Palms. Today we birded with him and saw +-25 Palms(some singing), 2 Black-throated Blue, ~10 Prairie, and a couple of Yellow-rumps. Almost all these birds were feeding frantically and taking time to rest in between meal runs. Was not a big fall out up there but a promising start to an awesome spring. Maybe tomorrow? It’s raining pretty hard as I write this and hope some more weather comes through to ground some good birds.

    Happy Migration to you and your friends up in NJ David.

    Nature is Awesome
    Angel & Mariel

  3. From Bob Duncan:

    Hi David – We appreciate your radar interpretations. Yesterday at Gulf Breeze in the W. Florida Panhandle we experienced a heavy fallout. Good numbers of Orchard Orioles, W. E. and Yel-thr Vireos, Indigo Btgs etc. Rain was off the AL – NW FL coasts from early a.m., extending somewhat into the Gulf (I had no computer access and was at Ft. Morgan yesterday a.m.) I dont know how far. It was south of and along the AL coast from at least dawn to late a.m. and began in NW Fl about 10:30 a.m (CDT). Winds remained S most of the morning and early p.m.

    Fallout began in Gulf Breeze about noon but I got reports from the banding station at Ft. Morgan, AL that it started earlier, one of the best days they ever had, over 500 banded. Birds were not tired and some took off for the mainland (my migrant trap home is on a peninsula) during the day.

    Today, Bob Sargent, the bander, reported about 1000 birds banded, so there was another overnight movement from the tropics, this time it included Rose-br. Grosbs and Baltimore Os., absent on the 5th’s fallout.

    I have been predicting fallouts for about 30 yrs based primarily on weather conditions but had come to realize how useful radar studies are and followed Noel Wamer’s reports carefully. I am still trying to decipher radar images, without success. But my weather condition predictions are usually correct, especially since computer access has made so much information available, like conditions in the tropics.

    Thanks for your efforts.

    Bob Duncan
    Gulf Breeze, Fl


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