A breathtaking total of 4,275 nighthawks – presumed Common Nighthawks (Chordeiles minor) – were tallied today between 09:30 and 14:39 hrs from the FKH observation deck at Curry Hammock State Park, Little Crawl Key.
For the past fall seasons we have been documenting large numbers of migratory nighthawks engaged in diurnal flights due south, detected as they cross the narrow landmass of the Middle Keys and continue southward over open water in general direction towards Cuba.
Today we surpassed our high counts of nighthawks from all previous years. Time and again we witnessed the passage of nighthawks in flocks ranging from roughly 70 to 500 individuals each, sometimes coming directly over our count site, other times spotted over a kilometer away. Nearly all flocks trended S to SE, and were tracked as the birds moved towards the ocean, and were finally lost in sight. Our hourly count was 568 (09:00-10:00 hrs), 254 (10:00-11:00), 1739 (11:00-12:00), 1079 (12:00-13:00) and 635 (13:00-14:00) for a total of 4275!
The weather was quite variable in the Middle Keys this day, with winds ranging from 2-13 km/h pushing bands of clouds and rain over the region. Cloud cover in general was dense and low, averaging 79% throughout the day (100% 13:00-16:00 hrs), and as low as 1500 ft in altitude. The map above (left) shows blue arrows indicating the general trajectory and line of detection of nighthawks crossing our monitoring area. The radar image on the right shows weather over South Florida from 1pm – 2pm.
Counters were Kerry Ross, Brehan Furfey, Alexander Harper, Moe Morrissette and Rafael Galvez.
Additionally, we tallied an impressive 790 southbound Eastern Kingbirds, 2195 Barn Swallows, and many individuals of numerous migratory bird species – culminating in an unforgettable day of migration in the Florida Keys!!!
Mantengan un vistazo al cielo en Cuba – alla van los Querequetés migratorios!!!