Posted by: NatureIsAwesome | April 16, 2011 @ 7:51 am

Migrants Headed North; Nice Wave out Of Cuba

This is the radar from 5:00pm last night to 7:00am 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

Nocturnal migration over Florida and the Keys was impressive to say the least. Birds were really on the move and most made it out of the state overnight. Jacksonville radar recorded the densest migration as birds were in a rush to move north before the front would shut down the night’s flight. You can see returns moving north at a high rate of speed over Jacksonville & Tallahassee radars. These birds were flying as the rain moved in and should have put down as the front approached from the NW. NW Georgia as well as NE Alabama should see some new faces around today. Lots of birds were aloft as the rain came in so we expect a real good birding day in this region.

Migrants took one of two routes to the north out of FL last night. One route was clearly over Jacksonville with the other being farther to the west over Tallahassee. More birds definitely flew over Jacksonville and Osceola NF than Tally. This would put the bulk of the migrants in Alabama, Georgia, S & N Carolina and Tennessee. If we have any readers that bird in these states it would be awesome to hear from you. What was the weather conditions like as you ventured out today? Did the rain cause any concentrations of nocturnal migrants?

The Keys radar recorded a big wave of migrants traveling north out of Cuba. As this wave reached the Keys radar it was evident that more birds were traveling east of Key West and over Big Pine Key. The returns kept their speeds up and continued the flight north with the west coast in mind. Did anyone bird along the west coast? It would be interesting to see if these birds dropped along the coast or did they continue north to Tallahassee. A good number of these birds appeared to have dropped down over the NW Everglades which would put birds at inland migrant traps such as Kirby Storter Park and Fakahatchee. If birds continued north during the morning they would have overshot these areas. The radar cut out before we could determine if these birds dropped down or continued north. This is when you guys come into play; did the birds put down or did they fly right past?

Miami radar did have plenty of activity overhead. Migrants were flying in from the south as well as the east. Some rain in the area may have caused some excitement among Miami birders but we don’t expect much to stop since they arrived on our shores too early to put down. These showers don’t look particularly strong enough to cause any concentrations thus allowing birds to fly inland past Miami.

Please share your sightings and weather observations with us and the rest of the radar birding community. This is by far the best way for all of us to learn more about these radar images. Hope you all enjoy a wonderful day.

Nature is Awesome,
Angel and Mariel


  1. Not many warblers on Cape Florida during Robin’s TAS walk. We had a 10-15 minute downpour as we were starting, around 8:30. After that, we saw 2 or 3 Prairie, a couple N. Parula, and one female Cape May. Robin heard a Northern Waterthrush, as well. She also gave a call over to the banding station and brought out a Worm-Eating and a Black-Throated Blue for us to see. That was a real treat! Word from the banding station was that it was very quiet there, too (lots of Catbirds).

    • Yes it was slow Anil! We band at the station every weekend during spring and fall. From the inside it can be quite different though. We had Painted & Indigo Bunting, Cape May, Catbirds (plenty), Common Yellowthroat, Parula, Prairie, one Summer Tanager, one Swainson’s Warbler as well as the Wormy and BTBW you all got to see. Most birds mentioned above did not get captured but we were birding since it was slow. Hoping for a busy day tomorrow, lets hope a shift in winds does the trick!

      Angel & Mariel

  2. Oh man, I wish we were around for the Swainson’s. That’d be a lifer for me (lifetime Northeast US birder). We’re thinking of hitting up Cape Florida again tomorrow, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  3. An early morning stroll through Matheson Hammock.
    The following birds were seen/heard, in order of appearance:
    Worm-eating Warbler (2)
    Black-and-white Warbler (3)
    Black-throated Blue Warbler
    Northern Parula
    Prairie Warbler (various)
    Ovenbird (2)
    Northern Waterthrush
    Catbirds were plentiful

    Plenty of Chimney Swifts cheered the skies
    An archetypal adult male Cooper’s Hawk perched on a Casuarina for great looks.

  4. Thanks! We appreciate the report Rafael.


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