Posted by: NatureIsAwesome | September 30, 2010 @ 9:05 am

Big Flight to Cuba and the West Indies; Bye bye birdies

Now that was migration! Birds took to the wing over the straights in style.
This is the radar from 5:00pm last night to 8:30am 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

North to northwest winds blanketed the majority of the state last night triggering an impressive flight by the birds. Conditions were excellent for birds to fly long distances and bypass most of the S. FL. When birds were put down in FL earlier in this week by the front, they started a localized movement south under cover. Birds were flying out of areas that had not previously shown much of an influx in the days past. As the sun set it was apparent that birds had clear skies to the south. The tailwind felt nice on our faces as it brought in some drier air even though it was still drizzling. The birds must have felt the same, good conditions, clear skies, tailwind and bellies full; a massive flight to the Caribbean was in store.

Birding conditions should be interesting around the state, we know lots of places were hit by the migration vacuum but how about the gems in the rough? We want to hear from you the readers and let us know where are the birds today?

As of 9 a.m. birds were still on the wing in and around the state and may be landing in your area now. Coastal locations on the east coasts may be best, but can also be dead since winds pushed birds out to sea. Yesterday’s low shot passed us and is well north of FL at this point which opened the door for birds to fly to their wintering destinations. Hope to hear from you the birders and let us know what is around today.

Post your sightings here, we would love to hear from our readers!

Nature is Awesome,
Angel and Mariel


  1. A 30 minute run through Cauley Square (Goulds, South Dade Co.) from 7:30 to 8 am turned up significant amount of bird activity. Unfortunately I had a class to teach, so could not stick around to measure the extent of it.

    Birds seen included:
    Black-throated Blue Warbler (3)
    American Redstart (2)
    Cape May Warbler (1)
    Worm-eating Warbler (2)
    Black-and-white Warbler (1)
    Northern Parula (2)
    Ovenbird (3)
    Northern Waterthrush (1)
    Ruby-throated Hummingbird (2)
    Summer Tanager (1)
    Yellow-billed Cuckoo (2)

    This appears to be an influx, considering that prior to TD 16, the area showed little migrant activity.

  2. As I suspected the N-NW winds pushed the birds right over our heads. This was apparent as I have never heard so many flight calls at one time as I did last night from my house. A.D. Barnes this morning had only a few birds.
    Here’s the list for 2 hours:

    Northern Parula (10)
    Cape May Warbler (2)
    Black-throated Blue Warbler (8)
    Blackburnian Warbler (2)
    Yellow-throated Warbler (1)
    Pine Warbler (1)
    Prairie Warbler (5)
    Palm Warbler (6)
    Black-and-white Warbler (1)
    American Redstart (6)
    Worm-eating Warbler (1)
    Ovenbird (3)
    Common Yellowthroat (2)

    Swainson’s Thrush (2)
    Baltimore Oriole (2)
    Red-eyed Vireo (5)

  3. ————-FIU – BBC Campus Migrants————

    Birds are all over this place, Raptors, Swallows, Warblers it’s awesome. Looks like birds are still coming in. Just on the walk from the car to the building we spotted a nice mix of migrants.

    Three American Kestrels, two Merlin, one Perigrine several Osprey a Short-tailed Hawk and loads of Barn Swallow with Cliff, Bank, NRW and Cave Swallows mixed in. Warblers were descending from the skies above, I heard the flight calls and Mariel spotted them. They put down south of us along the tree line, we will go look out there later. Several of the Warblers that I was able to look at through the binocs were yellow from the throat through the undertail, Yellow Warblers? Heard lots of other calls that ducked into the trees quickly and were not cooperative. We could hear Ovenbirds, Redstarts, BTB, Parula, and Waterthrush sp. in the trees and some Thrush calls overhead.

    Also looking at the radar as of 1:00 p.m. birds are still flying SE into the Miami radar. Its not much but it is something.

    Nature is Awesome
    Angel & Mariel

  4. Winds are forecast to continue out of the North for the next five days. Birds should take advantage of this tailwind and most will fly right over us and on to the Caribbean and points beyond. By the time the winds shifts, the last remaining migrants would have gone, and we’ll be left with the wintering stuff. The Catbirds are around the corner, and the Palms are already here. All year waiting for the big Fall push, and we never got it.
    I feels as fall migration passed me by.


    • sounds like catbirds are here already. WHAAAHHHHH!!!!

  5. Agree with the fly-over analysis. Nothing put down overnight at Cape Florida, but a burst of mostly common yellowthroats, bt blues and redstarts came in 0830 to about 1000. Also a few palm warblers around. A dozen or so yellow-billed cuckoos were lurking in the trees by the time we stopped banding at 1320. 32 birds banded so it was quite the bust in terms of numbers. The yellowthroats and other warblers (plus a couple of red & white eyed vireos) were all quite fat, but we did catch a blackpoll and a Connecticut warbler. The Conn is only the second one banded in fall at Cape Florida in 9 years. Both these birds were horribly emaciated; wonder if they left from the mid-Atlantic yesterday but hit all that lousy weather offshore, burning up their own bodies as fuel to make it back to land down here? Eat some ficus fruit, girls!

  6. Very windy this morning on my walk around the Mangrove Bay Neighborhood of NE St. Petersburg. Not as many birds as yesterday, but I found a nice feeding flock of Warblers. The best find was a lifer for me a Lark Sparrow. There were 3 different sparrow feeding in the short grass with some Palm Warblers but the mailman drove by and they all flew up into the trees. I did get a lousy pick of the Lark Sparrow from 50 yards away, shooting into the sun. Full list below.

    1) Gray Kingbird ( juvenile )
    6) Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
    1) Veery
    1) Tennessee Warbler ( juvenile )
    1) Yellow Warbler
    2) Yellow-throated Warbler
    2) Prairie Warbler
    20) Palm Warbler
    2) Black-and-White Warbler
    1) Worm-eating Warbler
    1) Lark Sparrow
    3) Chipping Sparrow? ( I think )
    1) Sparrow species

    Don Margeson

  7. Made a huge loop in PBC from the beach to the Everglades. Beach had only BTB and Red-eyed Vireo. Yamato Scrub was jumping – 2 A. Kestrel, Broad-winged Hawk, Shiny Cowbird, lots of new Pied-billed Grebes, a nightjar and a very green Prairie. Old Orchard and Green Cay only yielded one Waterthrush. Not a whole lot, but nice to see new incoming species!

  8. Anybody bird Broward today? Sure are a lot of birds leaving tonight; don’t know when they came in but they weren’t at Cape Florida by 1330. Wondering if last night’s rain put them down just north of Dade.

  9. I made a second power-birding run in the South Dade/Goulds area today, this time going to Castellow Hammock from 2:15 to 3:00pm.
    The day was about the beauty of numbers – rather than “variety.’
    Practically the same group of birds I encountered this morning was found at Castellow, yet the oaks out at the parking lot were “covered” with Blue-gray Gnatcatchers – gleaning, flycatching, dropping, hissing, clicking – you name it.
    It has been quite some time since I’ve witnessed so many of these buggers at once. More than once, I watched squabbles between BGGN and RT Hummingbirds, which were in relatively good numbers.
    Palm Warblers also seemed well represented.
    Similarly to what Angel and Mariel experienced at FIU BBC, the Barn Swallow flights were the largest I’ve seen in weeks; at times the birds kettled in large swarms.
    The highlight was a Blue-winged Warbler out at the top of the front oaks!

  10. Is it possible I observed a Rufous Hummingbird at my firebush next to Big George hammock?

  11. Definitely Delora, it’s migration! If you can get a pic we can post it up here for you. We have been wanting to include more of the readers content…ie. pics, observations, questions etc. A & M

  12. MIDA, we read one report from Broward. Here it is…
    I went to Markham Park in West Broward County off of St Road 84 and
    Weston Road during my lunch. I was looking for any and all migrants. I was
    excited to see….

    Yellow Billed Cuckoo 2 (First time I ever saw them here!)
    American Redstart Male and Female 6
    Blue Gray Gnatcatchers too many to count
    Prairie Warblers 4
    Blue Jays 8
    Northern Mockingbirds 7
    Black Throated Blue Warbler male 2
    Red Bellied Woodpecker 2
    Black and White Warbler 1
    Boat tailed Grackle 50
    European Starlings 50
    Summer Tanager (First I have seen here!)

    Not bad for a lunchtime foray at Markham Park.
    The Cuckoos were found in the trees near the Scout Camping area across
    from the bathrooms near the boat ramp!

    Alayna Galbraith


%d bloggers like this: