Posted by: woodcreeper | April 8, 2008 @ 6:03 am

Against the wind…

Migration conditions over south Florida were far from optimal last night, but some birds still decided to take a stab at it. Here’s the radar from sunset last night through 5:30am.

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

Northeasterly flow dominated the state last night, while strong thunderstorms pushed southward off the peninsula and into Florida Bay. While no birds were observed departing the Keys nor the Bahamas,
a small push can be seen on the Miami radar just after sunset. The velocity confirms these are birds- but more importantly- that they were initially fighting a headwind in order to make a short hop to the north. I’m going to assume these were not passerines that the radar was picking up, but more likely shorebirds, or some other strong flier that tends to fly at much greater altitude. The same pattern could be seen at stations further north in the state, but none showed any particularly strong migration based on the regional composite. The real migration story belonged to the western Gulf coast, where winds were strong out of the southeast all the way down into the Yucatan. That scenario will probably be depicted on the Jackson Mississippi migration radar site later today.

As for birding, I don’t expect much of a change from yesterday, except maybe in the northern reaches of the state where birds did take off in greater numbers last night.

Good Birding


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  1. There was some migration last night or early this morning, as a change in bird composition was evident. We watched a Gray Kingbird come in off the ocean at 9:20 and around 10 AM, an influx of warblers (plus 1 Black-whiskered Vireo) purposefully streamed in to the north end of the Nature Trail. Prairie, Worm-eating, Palm, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Parula and both buntings were the main species. A couple of Myrtles showed up, the first ones in weeks.

  2. Thanks for the post Robin & Liz. I tend to miss these late morning arrivals since I make the radar loops at 5:30am… I’m working on a way to have them live-update so we can get a better handle on this phenomena which is clearly more of an issue down south than it is up here. Thanks again for all of your posts!


  3. […] winds and heavy rains the past couple of days have kept down the migratory exodus from Cuba, but yesterday, “against the winds,” BADBIRDZ caught radar images of flocks squeaking up the western coast of South Florida the previous […]

  4. Great post! We got out early to our local patch in hopes of seeing some migrant passerines. The birds were very quiet, and since we have to view from a path into thick brush, we probably missed most of what was there. Birded for about an hour and half, and had many catbirds, 4 White-eyed Vireos, 7 or 8 unidentified warblers, 1 Northern Parula and 3 Common Yellowthroats. Also saw 2 Carolina Wrens, one YB Cuckoo and a No. Harrier. I posted a one hour loop of what I saw on Key West radar before bedtime last night, as it looked like a promising beginning of a Cuban exodus, as your subsequent images bear out. Also captured two “donuts” of birds exiting wetlands in Broward and Palm County at about 7 AM this morning. Will post the loop on my blog.



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