Posted by: woodcreeper | September 24, 2008 @ 6:09 am

Migration conditions improving

Well, I expected a little more last night, given the northeast winds. I’m not convinced that migration was as light as it appeared on the radar, but instead I think that more birds were moving near the surface and therefore appear concentrated around the radar’s center. 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

Well, the cold front finally made its way down through the state last night, and northeast winds quickly built in behind it. It appears that as the front cleared sections of Florida, birds took to the sky in a southwesterly direction. Interestingly, the signals apparent on the north and central Florida radars were not as broad as would be expected given the wind conditions. The velocity confirms these as birds (given the high velocity of movement across the radar), but the density suggests that the birds were flying at a lower-than-expected altitude…. which, of course, complicates things. Okay, here’s my 2 cents.

Regardless of how much migration occurred, the general direction for birds migrating over North and Central Florida was from the NE->SW, therefore favoring inland and west coast migrant traps. Further south, over Miami, the trajectory was more N->S, suggesting that both inland and coastal locations in south Florida will see new birds today. While you shouldn’t expect “birds dripping from the trees” this morning, it should be a good day to visit Cape Florida, Matheson, and AD Barnes to see what came in last night. Some birds could also be seen heading into the Lower Keys via the southern Everglades, but none were seen launching into Florida Bay, suggesting that Key West could see some good concentrations this morning as well.

Good Birding,


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  1. Another slow but steady day today with 20 banded of 11 usual species. We actually thought the 5:45 AM radar off Key Biscayne held more promise that was groundtruthed. Most birds had excellent fat deposits and healthy breast muscles. Virginia Key had a few raptor migrants later in the morning: Northern Harrier, Cooper’s Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Merlin and Peregrine Falcon.

  2. They weren’t inland. Nothing flew over all morning while I was working in ENP. Only excitement was flushing an Am Bittern.

  3. At Matheson, things were pretty much the same in terms of numbers and diversity, with some new additions:

    Chimney Swift
    Ruby-throated Hummingbird (4)
    Eastern Kingbird
    Veery FOTS
    Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (8)
    Yellow-throated Vireo (2)
    Red-eyed Vireo (5)
    Northern Parula (5)
    Tennessee Warbler FOTS
    Black-throated Blue Warbler (6)
    Prairie Warbler (4)
    Cape May Warbler
    Yellow-throated Warbler (2)
    Black-and-white Warbler
    American Redstart (3)
    Worm-eating Warbler
    Ovenbird (9)
    Common Yellowthroat
    Baltimore Oriole

    11 warbler species — not bad! The Veery was also a nice addition. There was a Cerulean Warbler reported from Matheson, but I was not among the ones who saw it.



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