Posted by: NatureIsAwesome | September 15, 2009 @ 8:45 am

Major Migrant Movement

This is the radar from 7:00pm last night to 7:30am 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

Last night migrants were on the move in big numbers, north winds did the trick. The only bad thing is that they did the trick. All east coast radars were picking up high densities of migrants last night. Birds were moving out of Florida in a hurry, a nice tail wind to help them along the way. This means that the night was better for migrants than birders, very little was reported around Florida today as a result of birds moving out of the state. The Keys look like your best chance to see migrants, there was late morning activity over the lower keys which may have been a resting spot for migrants this morning. Well migration has been pretty slow; we only hope it will get better.
Storms in the Gulf set up the night to bring down birds but they were able to get around the storms and work there way south and eventually out of Florida. Where are you west winds? Are you listening? Please pay us a visit, we need some birds.

Nature is Awesome,
Angel and Mariel


  1. Another name for north winds in fall is “the vacuum cleaner”. It came last night and sucked everything out. I birded both sides of Matheson this morning and got a grand total of 3 Ovenbirds, 1 Yellow-throated, and 1 Prairie Warber, and 1 Yellow-throated Vireo. That’s it. Yesterday I had 8 species around the stone shelter alone. I had a bad feeling when I saw the forecast for north winds for last night. I’ve seen this happen many times in Fall when we get a north wind and the birds take off. The most extreme example occurred the night of Oct. 16, 2004. We had tremendous birdage the entire week. On the 16th I hit Royal Palm before dawn and hit pay dirt. Thousands of birds. Here is my recollection of what I saw:

    Golden-winged (2!)
    Tennessee (30+)
    Parula (100+)
    Chestnut-sided (30+)
    Magnolia (many)
    Cape May (many, many)
    BTB (hundreds)
    BTG (couple)
    Blackburnian (several)
    Prairie (many)
    Palm (1000+, all over the ground along the road)
    Black-and-white (many)
    Redstart (hundreds)
    Ovenbird (all over the Ingraham Hwy)
    N. Waterthrush (see Ovenbird)
    Common Yellowthroat
    Hooded (10-12!)


    Western Tanager
    Rose-breasted Grosbeak
    Swainson’s Thrush
    Gray-cheeked Thrush
    Yellow-billed Cuckoo
    E. Wood-Pewee
    Least Flycatcher

    The following day, I went to the same spot at got 8 species, all in single digits, and all mundane. The difference was that we had SW winds all week, and on Saturday night they shifted out of the north. North wind kills us in fall.

  2. Yeah, there was nothing out at Cape Florida today, either. 10 birds banded. Birds looked to be going over all night long, but nothing landed. Sigh!
    Not much diversity this season so far; the normal common species (BTBW, OVEN, BAWW, WEWA, COYE, PRAW, AMRE, NOWA). No bluewings, no goldenwings or chestnutsideds; only one Hooded & Prothonotary so far. The best birds banded so far have been a female Cerulean and only our second yellow warbler out of 10,000 birds banded in 8 years; they just aren’t over here on the east coast. Liz banded these back in August while I was monkeying around up in Canada.


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