Posted by: woodcreeper | September 16, 2008 @ 6:07 am

Big migration over Florida

WOW! Now THAT was migration! 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

Heavy migration was evident across the entire east coast last night… actually… it was heavy across more than half of the entire country! All Florida radars showed strong migration signals last night and all fall birding hotspots should be checked this morning. The velocity images suggest a slight NW->SE bias in migration direction which would favor east coast birding locations, although there appears to be enough direct N->S movement to suggest good birding at all locations across the state. This might be the morning to pick your favorite nearby patch and see what has arrived. If you’ve got the time, though, head for the east coast.

Both the Miami and Key West radars indicate a large push of birds into the Caribbean last night, which is also consistent with the southeast flow of upper-level winds (winds at the surface were variable), and suggests a coastal favor for this morning. Aghh! It’s after 6:00am… okay, you know the drill, good luck out there and when you’re done please come back and let us know how it went.

Good Birding,


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  1. Great resource, sir. This morning, for the first time this fall, I heard birds calling overhead just as dawn was beginning to show in Pinellas County, Florida.

    Your radar images? Were right on the mark!

    Ron Smith

  2. David — We’ve got a head-scratcher here on Key Biscayne. Yesterday’s banding results included good numbers of birds, with a diverse cross section. Today was dull and *very* slow. A male Kentucky Warbler brightened the otherwise, very quiet banding day. What’s up with this? Any ideas? Do you see anything on radar that may explain the Key Biscayne by-pass? I heard reports of good warbler numbers in extreme South Dade today. We feel snubbed.

  3. Ladies and Gents

    I checked the radar through 8:30am, and all I can surmise is that birds kept moving south and possible east into the Caribbean. There was an obvious push early on towards the Bahamas, but it also looked like some birds were moving southbound off the coast… possibly making landfall further south into Key Largo. It’s a tough call. It would really be nice if I could filter out anything moving at wind speed, to really see what proportion of the signal was indeed birds.

    Thanks for your observations!



  4. Good Call David!
    I woke up this morning to a small influx of birds in my gumbo limbo tree (in the Redland)including (after much research) a golden winged warbler first fall female! woohoo! Also had Parula,Prairie ,BGgnats,B&W,REvireos and a Baltimore Oriole.
    Added FOTS ovenbirds at the C111 as well as more vireos WE and RE, redstarts and baselisks.
    Oh wait , those darn Baselisks don’t fly-they do run like the dickens tho 🙂

  5. Well, migration is interesting nonetheless. It always amazes me how diverse the birding can be across the state, given the apparently widespread migration event. You should check out some of the observations from up here as well (, as we experienced a night of heavy migration and hit-or-miss birding this morning. When the conditions are this good, birds are all over the place and in less of a hurry to put down in any one location…

    Officer Smith, Key Bunnies, and Tricia:
    Thanks for all of your observations!




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