Green Key Funnel Migrant Count

On this page you will be able to keep track of Ken Tracey’s, Green Key Funnel Migrant Count. Everyday or every other day, Ken dedicates time to counting the migrants that pass through the funnel during migration. We hope you enjoy this new section of Badbirdz2.



I went out to Green Key at 11:00am after the rain stopped. I could hear sparrows all through the mangroves, zeeting and zipping. Although a few hopped up, none long enough for ID. As I was leaving past the gate I did see one sparrow, stopped, and much to my surprise it was another Pasco Clay-colored Sparrow!

Also at the gate a good mix of warblers were feeding through;

1 Yellow
3 American Redstart
4 Prairie
1 Black-and-white
1 Northern Waterthrush
3 Palm
7 Yellow-rumped Warbler



A good mix of warblers this morning, plus 3 Barn Swallows (Photo).
8 Prairie Warbler
6 Yellow
2 Hooded
2 Yellow-throated
1 Palm
1 Blackburnian (photo)
1 Northern Waterthrush

Blackburnian Warbler


I have been checking out 3 sites for Yellow Warblers; Green Key, Lake Lisa, and Bandura Drive. The habitat at these sites attracts many Yellow Warblers. At Green Key the mangroves are the draw while at the other two the Brazilian Pepper hedges along the pond and lake are the attraction.

On 9/20 I found 57 Yellow Warblers, today, 9/22, I found 42 at the three sites.

My warbler reference states that the Yellow Warbler migration in September in Florida is mostly the northern Canada nesting subspecies amnicola, characterized by darker green back and greenish head. Many of the warblers I am seeing are very dark and green, although as my attached photo illustrates some migrants are still bright yellow-backed and are obviously aestiva the eastern US nesting subspecies which make up most of the August migrants. Photo= top left is most likely amnicola, bottom right aestiva.


At Green Key yesterday evening I found a green Yellow Warbler. Only one poor photo turned out, but to my surprise when I looked at the photo the bird I was following (A) was next to a well hidden, very dark green Yellow Warbler (B) in the mangroves. The darkest I have found. Now I need to get a better photo! Could be one of the most northern subspecies.

Also had several flocks of Blue-winged Teal flying south; estimate 350 birds.

This morning I had 14 Yellow warblers at Lake Lisa, no other warblers? Also had two Baltimore Orioles, one male and one female.

At the Starkey Ranch I was surprised to hear a Louisaina Waterthrush calling from a wet area in the open pasture! I followed it as it flew over to a tree line along the fence to get photo. It dive bombed me for playing tape call then went back into the pasture?

At the sod field I found 4 Pectoral Sandpipers, 1 Spotted Sandpiper and another flock of Blue-winged Teal (24)


This morning I had a good mix of warblers at the key;
14 Yellow
8 Prairie
3 Yellow-throated
2 Prothonotary
1 Northern Waterthrush

These numbers compare to my fall count so far since 7/14;
245 Yellow
183 Prairie
58 Prothonotary
18 Yellow-throated
7 Northern Waterthrush

My photo composite from this morning shows that early morning visits do not have enough light for good photos, but the yellow warblers are starting to become darker green and olive, (top yellow compared to darker bottom yellow in photo) supporting an indication of more northerly nesting birds now arriving.


This morning I had a good flight of Yellow Warblers at Green Key. At the beach I could hear warblers chipping high overhead when 8 of them dropped into small tree next to one of the pavilions. One American Redstart and 7 Yellow Warblers were in that group. The attached photo shows 3 of those yellows. All together I counted 18 Yellows, 5 Prairie and 1 Amer. Redstart. If my previous records are correct, the next week should see large numbers of Yellow Warblers at the key, and then the third week of Sept. should have another strong flow.
Late yesterday evening before a storm came in over the ranch I found 32 Pectoral Sandpipers in the flooded pasture, but no Buff-breasted!

I found an Eastern Wood-Pewee and 20 Eastern Kingbirds at the state park in West Pasco this morning. Also had 7 juvenile Eastern Bluebirds on my street. They may possibly be from a first and second brood of the same parents as some have less blue feathers than the others. Attached composite photo shows two that have more blue feathers than the other two. My assumption is that the first brood may hang around with the parents and then travel with the second brood fledglings.

No warbler migrants were found at the key this morning after extensive search, but this afternoon I went back looking for loon and found birds coming in at the very west end of the key, landing in the Black Mangroves. Indicating to me that the following were “diurnal” migrants.
4 Yellow Warbler
4 Prairie warblers
1 Black-and-white
5 Great-crested Flycatchers

10 Prairie
2 Prothonotary
2 Yellow
1 Yellow-throated

This morning at Green Key I found two Prothonotary Warblers, one at each end of the key.
The fall migration of warblers through the key has started.

This will be the 6th year that I have kept records of the fall warblers at the key, July 14th till Oct. 17th. The top 5 species totals out of 21 species seen on the key during the fall are;
1352 Yellow
1254 Prairie
169 Northern Waterthrush
141 Prothonotary
131 Palm

Interesting when I compare the top 5 spring warbler migrants out of 28 species seen at the Green Key Funnel for the last 11 years, April 7th till May 23rd;
3607 Blackpoll
3116 Palm
2084 American Redstart
983 Prairie
801 Black-throated Blue

Ken Tracey


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