Posted by: NatureIsAwesome | May 3, 2010 @ 10:16 am

Big Influx of Caribbean Migrants

This is the radar from 5:00pm last night to 9:30am 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

Migrants were on the move last night. Returns could be seen leaving Cuba heading in a general SE->NW. Birds were moving over Florida in high densities making great ground over the state. Looking at the SE mosaic radar loop you can see two waves of migrants crossing the straights entering through the SW corner of the peninsula. Birds could be seen moving west into the Ten Thousand Island area, migrant hot spots south of Sarasota should be checked for any incoming migrants today. It seems as if the birds that were headed towards the Tampa area were able to overshoot you guys making it harder to find migrants around there. Most returns were moving north through the state, with many of the returns making it out of Florida. Miami radar did show a late influx of birds but winds were ideal for these birds to continue flying into the morning. All in all winds seem to have helped birds north thus leaving most of us in S. FL wishing for more migrants.
Along the panhandle thunderstorms associated with a weak cold front continue to make slow progress eastward. As of midday it should be over the extreme western panhandle, maybe a mid day influx of trans-gulf migrants? It sure does look good for you all in the area, let us know if anything happens. All this is happening due to a upper level shortwave over Texas which will track east into the gulf tonight and may keep rain over the panhandle into Tuesday. A shortwave creates instability in the upper levels of the atmosphere inducing an upward motion ahead of it; if conditions are favorable, the upward motion can contribute to thunderstorm development ahead of a shortwave.

Forecast calls for a low pressure system to develop over the southern plains mid week and moving NE bringing a trailing front through the panhandle on Friday or Saturday. This may play out great for birding this weekend, we will just have to wait and see.

Now it is your turn to go out and look for the birds, please pass by a share your sightings as this site works best as a collaborative effort.

Nature is Awesome,
Angel and Mariel


  1. Dickcissel @ Oak Grove, North Beach, Fort Desoto.

    White-rumped Sandpiper @ previously reported location, by Ken Tracey, of the Wilson’s Phalarope. Phalarope not present.

    Murray Gardler

  2. Rain has stopped, and we’re having a fallout in Gulf Breeze right now. That means that Ft. Pickens will also likely be having a big influx of migrants. A call from a friend on Dauphin Island – about 60 straight line miles west of us – says they are having a huge fallout right now also.

    Lucy Duncan

  3. Bob and I arrived at Ft. Pickens amidst heavy rain around 3:30 this afternoon. We sat in the car pointed at oak trees in catkins, wipers swishing, and watched the warblers and vireos feeding frenetically in the downpour while we waited for the heaviest rains to stop. The remainder of the dim afternoon had light rain interspersed with heavier showers, but we were able to bird a good bit of the area by foot. The big problem there, was that I just couldn’t move from one spot there were so many birds in “my” copse of oaks!

    But the birds, mostly warblers, were everywhere. Some trees were just hopping with birds by the dozens. It was the best fallout we have seen in many years.
    Oddly, the larger migrants, grosbeaks, tanagers and orioles were in short supply. There were so many birds that we hardly noticed the rain dripping off our binoculars, hats, and elbows.

    We wound up the afternoon with 36 neotropical migrants including 15 species of warblers (plus 3 others earlier in the morning at Pickens).

    We think they will be there overnight as they were still feeding at 6:30 when we left, but will be gone by mid-morning tomorrow. They were not tired as they had a tailwind flying northward and didn’t hit the rain until just offshore. They were feeding primarily on abundant oakworms, so will likely be ready to fly north to the mainland a mile away.

    The most productive area we visited was around Battery Worth. The oaks and shrubs on the south side of the battery along the road were just loaded. The lone oaks near the picnic area restroom also held a number of warblers. Battery Langdon had thrushes and some warblers, but the light was too dim when we got there and we couldn’t do much more birding.

    I hope some of you get out there early in the morning, and hopefully get to see some of these beauties!

    Lucy and Bob Duncan


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