Posted by: NatureIsAwesome | October 17, 2009 @ 10:55 am

Cold Front Sparks Heavy Migration

This is the radar from 6:00pm last night to 10:00am 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

Please be aware that the Miami radar had some time gaps missing due to the radar going out.

Last night big numbers of birds were on the move, with the heaviest action over the extreme western panhandle; good fallout conditions for this area today. Radars across northern Florida were picking up high densities of migrants as they flew over, with NW winds over the region birds were taking advantage of the tailwinds. The western central portion of the state did see some really good movement and even a significant rain event that may have grounded birds from Pinellas to Sarasota Counties. As migrants flew south they were met with some heavy storm activity which may have caused localized concentrations along the west coast. Would love to hear from you west coast birders to see if this is right.
Jacksonville radar had heavy action through out most of the night, hopefully some of these birds came down for birders up there. Melbourne radar also had a nice flight over it last night; high densities were also recorded over this radar site as well.
Miami radar has let us down for the second day in a row now; with the radar going out about every hour and a half, it made it hard to decipher what was going on. One thing that was evident was that birds were coming into the radar but with the gaps in time we are having a hard time tracking what really went on. We are counting on Miami birders to let us know what is around today.
The Keys experienced heavy migration last night and this morning, as of 12:00 p.m. huge amounts of birds are still in the air making their way to Cuba. A huge exodus to Cuba usually means that the Keys will be sucked dry but today may be an exception as birds are still over them right now. Some of these birds may choose to land as there are some storms around and it’s also heating up, hopefully birders out in the Keys have a nice influx of birds.
All in all it was a nice night for migration, hopefully birders around Florida will stop by and report their sightings so that we can get a picture of what is really on the ground. Have a great weekend and enjoy the nice cool weather.

Nature is Awesome,
Angel and Mariel



  1. I only had a few minutes this morning to stop by Abercrombie Park; however, I saw a small flock of Palm Warblers, a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and many American Redstarts. Many other small birds were calling and flying around in the high canopy just past the entrance to the left of the main path that I didn’t see well enough to ID, two larger than the rest with bright yellow breasts.

    Halloween Colors
    on American Redstarts
    flying in circles

  2. Had some nice birds today between Fort De Soto and Don and Lorraine Margeson’s House. At De Soto, we had plenty of Palm Warblers, 2 Hooded Warblers (male), 1 Wilson’s Warbler (female), Prairie Warbler, and Northern Parula. On the shore, we had Oystercatchers, Snowy, Piping, Black-bellied, Wilson’s, and Semipalmated Plovers. Least and Western Sandpipers, many Red Knots, 1 Dunlin (first of fall), 1 Herring Gull, 1 Merlin, and 1 Kestrel.

    While I was at Don’s, we had 1 Magnolia, several Pine, many Redstarts and Palms, 1 Black-and-white Warbler, and 1 Scarlet Tanager. Catbirds are also around.

  3. While at lunch we observed waves of Chimney Swifts moving N -> S. This is a common phenomenon on Key Biscayne for swallows, swifts and raptors to move immediately in front of a weather event during migration. By 3 PM I was seeing pods of falcons zip through, slicing through the 25-30 mph gusts. There were 2 kestrels (bounced rather than sliced), 8-10 Merlins and 3 Peregrines. Naturally, the Merlins broke off and harassed the Turkey Vultures. MIDA will interpret the banding/weather realtionship but our crew of 5 almost outnumbered the birds today.

  4. Hi all,

    We had another day this Fall of opening up the front door here in SW Englewood, and finding every tree covered and the air dense with the sound of birds…..truly a mass fallout. The majority of warblers moved through extremely quickly within about an hour, feeding frantically, and barely pausing on their move. We had a total of 17 warbler species: Tennessee, No. Parula, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia (lots), Cape May, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green (several), Yellow-throated, Pine, Prairie (a few), Palm, Bay-breasted (FINALLY! – a lifer for me), Black-and-white (several), Am. Redstart (many), Worm-eating, Common Yellowthroat, and a few gorgeous male Hoodeds. We also saw some birds that were new yard birds for me: Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Swainson’s Thrush, and Tufted Titmouse. New first-of-the-season birds included Eastern Phoebe and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Other migrating and notable species were a few Eastern Wood-Pewees, an Empid species, late Chimney Swifts, Swallow species (sad to say, but I didn’t really want to look up to focus the bins because of all the warblers conveniently right in front), Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Gray Catbirds, Brown Thrashers, Yellow-throated and Red-eyed Vireos, several Summer and Scarlet Tanagers, and several Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. Raptors included a few Bald Eagles and Ospreys, a Cooper’s Hawk, and a Red-shouldered Hawk. We took some visiting weekend company out on the boat to Charlotte Harbor this afternoon, where the winds picked up considerably over the course of a few hours. We had a flyover flock of 5 Roseate Spoonbills and an estimated 250-300 FOTS American White Pelicans on Bird Island out in the harbor. Truly a wonderful birding day!

    Susan Daughtrey
    Englewood, Charlotte County

  5. Cape Florida banding was slow today with 14 new birds banded and 5 or 6 recaps; evidence of not much new in or out last night. When the Miami radar was up it looked like a pretty light flight down here compared to other locations. The woods were quiet but a few bobolinks, palm warblers and assorted shorebirds flew over, plus the chimney swifts Robin mentioned previously.
    Wonder what the origin of the huge mass of birds heading down the Gulf offshore of west FLA was; the SE loop makes it look like they took off from the west coast which seems odd, going against the SW wind we had today. Maybe they’re not passerines, or maybe they are really songbirds that left Alabama/Panhandle last night and are doing an all-day run south.

    Cool air at my house by 1630…..Aaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

  6. Posted to the Brdbrains list

    It was tough deciding where to bird this morning given that it looked, by the radar images between 5:30 and 6:30 (and hearing the number of birds going over), that most anywhere could contain migrants. Since I didn’t have but a few hours in the morning I stayed close to home and birded Lake Park.

    Even after sunrise there were migrants to be heard calling over head and things didn’t really settle in to be viewed until a bit after the sun was up.

    Really, the major highlight for the morning was beautiful male Golden-winged Warbler on the west side of the park not too far away from the Whirley Rd entrance. A very nice surprise bird. Indigo Buntings showed in good numbers as did Palm Warblers. My full eBird list is below.

    Location: Lake Park
    Observation date: 10/17/09
    Notes: 5352 steps = approx. 3.48 miles
    Number of species: 50

    Wood Duck 3
    Little Blue Heron 2
    White Ibis 8
    Black Vulture 1
    Turkey Vulture 3
    Red-shouldered Hawk 2
    American Kestrel 1
    Killdeer 2
    White-winged Dove 9
    Mourning Dove 12
    Eastern Screech-Owl 1
    Chimney Swift 5
    Belted Kingfisher 1
    Red-bellied Woodpecker 10
    Downy Woodpecker 8
    Northern Flicker 1
    Eastern Wood-Pewee 1
    White-eyed Vireo 6
    Yellow-throated Vireo 1
    Blue Jay 15
    American Crow X
    Fish Crow X
    Carolina Chickadee 8
    Tufted Titmouse 10
    Carolina Wren 10
    House Wren 6
    Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 20
    Eastern Bluebird 8
    Gray Catbird 30
    Northern Mockingbird 5
    Brown Thrasher 6
    Golden-winged Warbler 1
    Northern Parula 1
    Magnolia Warbler 3
    Yellow-throated Warbler 1
    Pine Warbler 5
    Prairie Warbler 2
    Palm Warbler 10
    Palm Warbler (Western) 25
    Palm Warbler (Yellow) 1
    Black-and-white Warbler 1
    American Redstart 4
    Ovenbird 4
    Common Yellowthroat 20
    Northern Cardinal X
    Rose-breasted Grosbeak 4
    Indigo Bunting 25
    Red-winged Blackbird X
    Common Grackle 250
    Boat-tailed Grackle X

    This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

  7. In Kissimmee there were quite a few new migrants along Shingle creek. I had 11 warbler and 3 thrush species. Annoyingly i failed to see any Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, however i did see quite a few Indigo Buntings. Best bird of the day was probably a Wood Thrush. Here’s a complete list of migrants:

    Bald Eagle- 4
    American Kestrel- 1
    Chimney Swift- 8
    Belted Kingfisher- 2
    Eastern Phoebe- 4
    White-eyed Vireo- 2
    Barn Swallow- 3 (All Juv.)
    Tufted Titmouse- 4-5
    Blue-grey Gnatcatcher- 25+
    Wood Thrush- 1
    Gray-cheeked Thrush- 2
    Swainson’s Thrush- 3
    Gray Catbird- 20+
    Tennessee Warbler- 5
    Northern Parula- 2
    Chestnut-sided Warbler- 1 (1st Fall Female)
    Magnolia Warbler- 1 (male)
    Black-and-white Warbler- 1 (female)
    Black-throated Blue Warbler- 2 (male/female)
    Palm Warbler- 30+
    Ovenbird- 2
    Northern Waterthrush- Heard
    Common Yellowthroat- 20+
    American Redstart- 6
    Indigo Bunting- 15

    The Teenage Birder
    Kissimmee, FL


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