First Day of Migration Monitoring 2015
We had a stellar first day of migration monitoring in the Middle Keys this September 15th. During the last couple of days much of South Florida has received intermittent heavy downpours. The thunderstorms have been associated with a high pressure system across the southeast, ushering a return flow of tropical moisture from the Atlantic and Caribbean into Florida. This morning, as the skies dissipated after periods of heavy rain at daybreak, we could see many warblers making landfall into Long Key. Even before arriving into Long Key State Park for our first morning transect survey of the season, we had already seen 7 warbler species and multiple individuals of each (Worm-eating 6, Northern Parula 11, American Redstart 24, Black-throated Blue 6, Black-and-white 1, Ovenbird 10, Prairie Warbler 12) from the Keys Marine Lab to the Layton Trail. Many more birds waited for us within the state park boundaries.
By the end of the day, we had encountered 17 warbler species, 5 raptor species (primarily Merlins), Chuck-will’s Widows (11), various shorebirds including Whimbrel and Semipalmated Sandpiper, and large squadrons of Frigatebirds. Unfortunately, rain and strong winds kept migratory activity at Curry Hammock relatively slow.
Warbler species counted today (9/15/2015) included:
Northern Parula – 43
Prairie Warbler – 47
Yellow Warbler – 1
Wilson’s Warbler – 1
Hooded Warbler – 1
Chestnut-sided Warbler – 1
Worm-eating Warbler – 22
Black-and-white Warbler – 12
Swainson’s Warbler – 2
Ovenbird – 59
Northern Waterthrush – 5
Common Yellowthroat – 3
Yellow-throated Warbler – 4
Magnolia Warbler – 3
Cape May Warbler – 5
Black-throated Blue Warbler – 17
American Redstart – 84
While we did not see many raptors this rainy and windy day, we did see the first Peregrine Falcons of the 2015 season. We counted 4 during the morning transect at Long Key, and 2 at the hawkwatch. Merlin was the raptor of the day with 13 at Long Key and 5 at the hawkwatch. Some Ospreys were also on the move, and single Cooper’s Hawk and Turkey Vulture were seen at Long Key.
Other highlights included Chuck-will’s Widows, several White-crowned Pigeons, Red-eyed Vireos and Acadian Flycather. Counters today included Rafael Galvez and Ted Keyel.
With intermittent thunderstorms continuing in the coming days, we are looking forward to another interesting migration season in the Middle Keys.