Posted by: woodcreeper | April 9, 2008 @ 6:23 am

Birds head NW over Florida

Moderate levels of migration were evident across the state of Florida last night along a SE–>NW trajectory. Density was highest in northwestern Florida (especially across the panhandle) and decreased to the southeast. Here’s the radar from sunset last night through 5:30am 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 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 Miami radar showed a modest pulse of birds leaving the area just after sunset, heading in a NW direction, while neither the Miami or Key West radar indicated any sizable influx of birds from the south or east. Only a trickle of birds could be seen heading across the Florida Straits for the Keys. Based on this, I’d expect birding conditions to follow the same trend as migration, such that densities will be highest as one moves north and west throughout the state. Since we have a repeatable measure of bird density at Cape Florida, I’d expect today to be significantly less “birdie” than yesterday. Key Bunny?

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  1. David, I saw another “donut” effect, or burst of echoes west of Fort Lauderdale, similar to but larger than the earlier one, which you presumed represented waders departing from an area SW of the intersection of Alligator Alley and US-27. The burst radiated out during the time period 6:53 and 7:47 AM this morning. I let the image go stale and could not copy it, even though it still shows in my browser now, at 9:30 AM. It was on the Enhanced Base Reflectivity loop view of the Miami Radar. Maybe you can retrieve it. I will try the UCAR site and see if I can, and if so, will put a link to it on my blog.



  2. Birds must have departed last night, as we had less diversity this morning in Cape Florida. However, there was a definite influx of Prairies (62 is probably a low count). At 8:30 a fairly large flock of Prairies showed up in the eastern part of park and from their behavior, we guess that they had just arrived. One Prairie zipped right into a large Golden Orb Weaver web so we performed a rescue. This is the second Prairie that we’ve rescued from a web. During banding season we sometimes see warblers with spider web “bracelets.”

  3. A long walk through the west side of Matheson Hammock produced one each Prairie and Palm. No other migrants. There were no warblers or migrants of any kind at Sadowski.

  4. I just found this neat site and will have to learn radar-interpretation skills.

    Waiting patiently in east-central (beachside) Florida near Melbourne for spring warblers. My garden is a reasonably good trap for spring and especially fall warblers.

    Two or three yellow warblers arrived 8 April. About the same on 9 April. Several more today, 10 APR, singing and flitting high in live oaks and ficus trees.

    Saw a moderate influx of shorebirds at Merritt Island NWR on 8 April on Black Point Drive and Shiloh 1 North trails. Mostly (hundreds) least sandpipers, dunlin, and dowitchers in scattered flocks with many willets and a few semipalmated and black-bellied plovers. Flock of 50+ avocets and many stilts on Shiloh 1 North.

    Shorebird event of 2008 spring was flock of 100+ stilt sandpipers on Biolab Road, Merritt Island NWR on 25 March.

    Up to three swallow-tailed kites noted over St. Sebastian Reserve beginning 20 March.


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