Posted by: woodcreeper | September 12, 2008 @ 7:06 am

East winds and little birds

While most of the Florida radars were quiet again last night, the Miami radar did show a small pulse of southwest-bound traffic after sunset. Here’s the radar from 7:00pm last night through 5:00am this morning.

Frames are every 1/2 hour. Click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized animation.
Base Reflectivity image from Key West, FL Base Velocity image from Key West, FL Base Reflectivity image from Miami, FL Base Velocity image from Miami, FL Composite base reflectivity for the Southeastern USA

It has been an interesting couple of days where I can’t seem to pick out any migration on the radar, and yet reports from the field indicate some turnover at Cape Florida (thanks Ladies, for the steady updates). My only explanations are that either birds are migrating locally (small hops through the state), or that a few rogue birds are migrating against the better judgment of all others (which doesn’t seem very advantageous evolutionarily, but if they live to reproduce, well, that’s may be another story altogether). I suspect the answer to be local movements, but without knowing where these birds were the night before, it’s impossible to tell.

Anyway, there was a little movement through south Florida last night, but again, it was very light and, in my experience, movements these small will go unnoticed on the ground (except maybe for a decrease in birds at coastal locations, since the movement appeared to be NE->SW, and no appreciable influx was apparent). As for birds leaving the mainland for Cuba, nothing of note was apparent via the radar.

Weather-wise, it looks like Florida will be under east and southeast winds for the better part of a week, so expect little to no migration during this time. Of course, I’ll be posting daily in case something changes.

Good Birding,


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  1. David — I think your theory is correct about these birds making very short hops. We banded a gnatcatcher today that weighed 6.9g — almost too fat to fly. We had another slow but steady day, with a small influx of Northern Waterthrushes. All birds were in good shape. Numbers of Cape Mays are still gorging on ficus fruit and other birds are typical Caribbean migrants.

    Hanna must have stirred up ducks up your way. Perhaps because of Ike’s strong east winds combined with Hanna’s action, we saw 3 flocks of White-winged Scoters on Wednesday.


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