Posted by: NatureIsAwesome | April 27, 2011 @ 8:33 am

Severe Weather Warnings Across SE Today; Birds On The Move

This is the radar from 5:00pm last night to 8:00am 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

A Big flight occurred over Florida and out of Cuba last night. Southerly winds once again triggered a large migration event into and out of the state. States north of FL continue to see elevated tornadic vorticity with AR, TN, KY, IN, AL and MS getting the worst of this big low that has stalled over the region for days now. Satellite imagery shows a window between two large areas of low pressure which have given the birds an escape route north to the Mid West.

Some particularly heavy migration was visible moving north up the middle of the state overnight. A nice push of migrants coming up through the Straits and into the Greater Everglades region was impressive. All spring migrants have been moving into this particular region of the state and making first landfall in the area making birding slow in Miami. Surface level winds gave migrants a tailwind but upper level winds are telling a different story. Upper levels of the atmosphere are starting to change up with the low churning north of the state. Winds up at 3K feet have started to shift to the west and northwest which has pushed migrant movement east over inland FL. A wind shift seems to be in the future with Friday bringing the best winds and chances of seeing migrant in S. FL

Velocity radars tell us that birds are moving over Miami SE—NW as they have been for the majority of the spring. Theses conditions are not what Miami birders want to hear but the birds love it. Key West radar shows a more northerly direction of flight which puts birds into the west coast. With southerly winds moving birds swiftly through the state we expect dismal reports coming out of the west coast. We need precipitation to bring down the birds with timing of the precipitation being vital as well.

Miami radar shows some influx of migrants coming off the Atlantic as well the Keys. These birds are expected to have continued the flight well into the central portions of the state. Birding conditions looks best at inland site west of Miami with best chances of seeing any numbers and diversity in the Greater Everglades region of S. FL Elsewhere in the state it looks like birds were moving through the middle of the state with most birds appearing to have put down north of Lake Okeechobee and into Gainesville. As of morning birds could still be seen moving north which may have put the bulk of birds outside the state and into Georgia.

Please leave your sightings in the comments section this site. Your input on the site is instrumental in creating a useable archive of radar images and migrant activity on the ground. The archives on the site go back to ’07 and will continue to be archived. Your reports of weather observations and migrants seen on the ground as well overhead flight calls will make this a great tool when you want to look back to a particular day during migration. You will be able to look back and see what was seen on radar in correlation to actual data from birders reports. We hope that some of the hundreds of visitors a day take the time to share their sightings on the site.

Good birding to all and best wishes to those in the path of possible tornadoes today, stay safe and bird hard.

Nature is Awesome,
Angel and Mariel


  1. This morning there was a northern waterthrush hanging around the yard (Little Havana area of Miami). I also heard warblers flying over the house (which hasn’t happened much this year). So, I ditched work for a while and went to nearby Simpson Park in Downtown Miami. Not much- but there was a little migration action. Redstart, prairie and parula were in full song- especially the redstart. BtB was there also. Best was a very tame female painted bunting only a few feet away. There is a pond and a little stream in the park. All the action was there- otherwise the place was pretty empty. On a different note, my female indigo bunting is still in the yard- I wonder when she’ll leave.

  2. Almost forgot.. No Gray Kingbirds near work in Downtown Miami on Monday. Today I saw several- including two fighting big time. summer is here!

  3. Hi Everyone,

    I went and birded at Mead Gardens (Winter Park) for about 4 hours this
    morning and even with the hot temperatures managed to fine some interesting

    First off, I saw the Yellow-Breasted Chat again in his normal area he even
    perched where I could see him for about 10 seconds (an eternity in the chat

    I had several FOY female warblers including Black-thoated Blue and American
    Redstart as well as a female Blue Grosbeak. Among the hoards of N.
    Cardinals I found a family with about 4 fledglings begging for food. Nearby
    I saw a clutch of about 6 Tufted Titmouse fledglings foraging above my head.

    I also managed to locate both the Brown and Red morph Eastern Screech Owls
    near their usual hangout.

    The Pileateds were coming and going from their nesting cavity.

    I’m sad to report that it appears that the hummingbird nest found a week or
    two ago, appears to be abandoned. No one has seen her on or around the nest
    for a handful of days… Wonder what could have scared her off?

    Other sightings include:
    N. Waterthrush
    Common Yellowthroat
    Downy Woodpecker
    Red-bellied Woodpecker
    Great Crested Flycatcher (2)
    Prairie Warbler
    American Redstart (male and female)
    flocks of Waxwings passing overhead (>30)

    Good Luck out there!

    Maggie Jaicomo

  4. Good Evening,

    Spent the morning into the early afternoon at Honeymoon Island SP and had the
    best day for warbler

    migration so far this spring. End up with 12 species at Honeymoon, 13 total for
    the day. Still no thrushes, tanagers, or rose-breasted grosbeaks this spring at Honeymoon. All sightings
    along the Osprey Trail.

    1 – Magnificent Frigatebird
    1 – Green Heron (sitting in the mangroves at the back end of the Osprey Trail)
    7 – Yellow-billed Cuckoos
    2 – Chuck-will’s-widows
    14 – Gray Kingbirds
    2 – White-eyed Vireos
    2 – Magnolia Warblers (both males)
    3 – Black-and-white Warblers
    1 – Black-throated Blue Warbler (male)
    1 – Prairie Warbler
    1 – Bay-breasted Warbler (female)
    8 – Palm Warblers
    1 – Worm-eating Warbler
    3 – Ovenbirds
    1 – Louisiana Waterthrush
    2 – Northern Waterthrushes
    7 – Common Yellowthroats
    7 – American Redstarts
    4 – Indigo Buntings

    After lunch, stopped by John Bonner Park (14444 143rd Street North) in Largo.
    Had some minor activity along the south trail,

    the steady winds made identification difficult as the warblers stayed in the
    tops of the trees.

    1 – Magnolia Warbler
    1 – Prairie Warbler
    2 – Northern Parulas
    5 – warbler species

    Mad a quick stop to park I never been to before called George C. McGough Nature
    Park (11901 146th Street North) in Largo.

    I only had 2 Indigo Buntings and 2 Tufted Titmice.

    Erik Haney

  5. My first bird at 6:30 am was a CHUCK-WILL’S WIDOW also FOS. Audrey and I
    managed 65 species today doing Port Canaveral and Lori Wilson. Near the bridge
    at the locks was an AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER. It flew over the bridge and we
    re-found it on the east side of bridge in the rocks.


    As the water recedes, there will no doubt be more shorebirds coming in. Best viewing is very early morning or late afternoon/evening.

    We could find no warblers in Jetty Park, but still plenty of Royal Terns, 1 Sandwich Tern, Laughing, Ring-billed, Herring Gulls and Black Skimmers on the beach.

    About 30 birds seen at Lori Wilson Park: only 4 warblers-BLACKPOLL, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, PRAIRIE, REDSTART; still a few GRAY CATBIRDS. CHIMNEY SWIFTS, AND NO. GANNET. Thank heavens for No. Cardinals.

    Phyllis Mansfield

  6. Hi folks,

    Lucy and I led an Audubon field trip from Pensacola to Dauphin Is. yesterday. We didn’t expect much and weren’t surprised when we arrived at Cadillac Park where there were NO migrants present except one weary Bank Swallow. S and SE winds for days on end have allowed birds to fly right on over the coast. We then went to the pièce de résistance of birding locations on the island, the Shell Mound, where we we were lucky to find a few migrants, including the nominate race of the Black-whiskered Vireo (present the previous day). It was going to be a long hard-scrabble birding day…. But around 10 or 10:30 a.m. we heard thunder in the Gulf. Music to our ears! Not in the NOAA forecast! Sure enough, around 11 or 11:15 it started to rain. And small flocks of birds started coming in out of the gray sky. We hurried for cover and ate lunch on the veranda of a gracious host on the island.

    We returned to the Shell Mound later in the afternoon, and while it was not swarming with migrants, there were plenty of birds to entertain us, mostly Scarlet Tanagers and Red-eyed Vireos, some Blue-Grosbeaks, thrushes and Indigo Buntings. We only tallied 11 species of warblers. The squall line (iPhone technology be praised) had been approaching slowly from the west, extending only what appeared to be 15 or 25 mi into the Gulf, to the NNE, with a lot of rain to our west and north. But it dissapated as it moved over, never even getting to the Florida line (are we cursed this year?). It was enough to cause some migrants (winds remained strong S) to decide not to move into it over the mainland. We had no problem with that! It was the best fallout of the year, which isn’t saying much. Lucy and I gave it a 4.5, on a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being an inundation of migrants (which has happened less than 20 times in over 40 yrs of birding).

    The remaining die-hard birders accompanied us to the island’s west end late in the afternoon where we tallied 17 species of shorebirds and ended the day with 111 species for our trip, 91 for the official day tally. 32 Neotropical passerine migrants. All in all, a fun day.

    Bob Duncan


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