Posted by: woodcreeper | September 15, 2008 @ 6:01 am

Heavy migration over Florida

Well, things are definitely heating up across the Eastern Flyway, with lots of birds seen moving down the coast, from Maine to Georgia, over the last couple of weeks. Now large numbers of migrants finally appear to be making their way into the Sunshine State, with a smaller number making the leap south towards Cuba. 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

Winds were light and variable over Florida last night, while upper-level winds showed a much stronger effect on migrants. In the northern part of the state upper-level winds were strong WNW, which meant that birds entering the state from Georgia were headed towards the northeast coast of Florida. Over Jacksonville and Melbourne the trajectory of migration was more N–>S, owing to the more northerly upper-level winds there, while birds over Tampa appeared to be influenced by northeasterly winds, causing them to move SW along the coast. Over Miami birds appear to have compensated for the lighter east winds, and kept a N–>S trajectory into the southern peninsula, whereas birds over the Keys were clearly pushed by stronger easterly winds, to the SW into the lower Keys and the Florida Straits. Wow! Anyone who tries to say that migration over Florida is straightforward, is clearly misinformed.

Okay, now to the good stuff. The birding conditions should be good across the state today, as new birds have entered most coastal and inland locations. With no precipitation to concentrate birds, choosing a birding location should be done based on the direction of migration, and the dependability of that site during fall migration. While coastal sites in South Florida will see new birds this morning, it stands to reason that inland locations will fare better given the east winds along the coast. Up north, on the other hand, the winds will favor locations along the coast. Key West is looking good once more… “is there anybody out there?”
Good Birding,


Please don’t forget to become a member of the Badbirdz/Woodcreeper flock today. You can read the Become a Member post to find out more information.



  1. There was a pretty fair amount of bird activity at the C-111E this morning, 9/16. The C-111E is the first canal after passing Benito Juarez park (soccer field) on the road to ENP. Most of the birds were on the east bank of the canal, but
    there were birds on both sides. I called Larry and he came over right away and found some great birds, including some that I initially missed like a male Hooded and a Chestnut-sided that I got to see later and a Yellow that I missed. There were also a lot of Traill’s Flycatchers around, with several definite Alders and a possible Willow doing the “whit” call just before 7:00 am.

    Two of the Alders were about a mile down along the west bank of the canal. Larry went over to the Annex and added a Blackburnian Warbler to his day’s list.

    Here’s the list:

    Northern Parula (4)
    Chestnut-sided Warbler
    Cape May Warbler (2)
    Black-throated Blue Warbler
    Prairie Warbler (~10)
    Yellow-throated Warbler
    Prothonotary Warbler
    Black-and-white Warbler
    American Redstart (~10)
    Ovenbird (hundreds and hundreds)
    Northern Waterthrush (several)
    Kentucky Warbler
    Common Yellowthroat (3)
    Wilson’s Warbler
    Hooded Warbler
    Yellow Warbler (seen by Larry)

    Alder Flycatcher (at least 4 calling, others silent)
    Willow Flycatcher (possible, doing “whit” call)
    Great-crested Flycatcher (several)
    Eastern Kingbird (2)
    Gray Kingbird

    Baltimore Oriole (5)
    Orchard Oriole (2)
    Blue Grosbeak

    Yellow-throated Vireo (2)
    Red-eyed Vireo (10)
    White-eyed Vireo (many)

    Barred Owl (2 calling)

  2. Monday Sept 15 at Cape Florida was interesting. 45 birds were banded of the usual Caribbean-bound species, but there are still quite a few Cape Mays around-we banded 2 more to make for 13 banded in the last week, since Ike’s easterly winds. More have been onsite, doing the usual Cape May thing which is to take over a fruiting ficus and chase everybody else out of it. Something else special that was maybe blown here by the east winds…a Bananaquit! Possibly the first continental US banding record of one. He was in juvenile plumage which is browner on the head than any illustration we could find. He looked
    like the guy you and Florian found in the DRTO years ago. Huge feet for such a little bird. Like putting REVI legs on a NOPA or something!


%d bloggers like this: