Pretty much on schedule, the winds shifted to the southeast last night, bringing about much more favorable conditions for migrants venturing across the Florida Straits. I expected that there would almost surely be some spectacular radar images overnight, for BADBIRDZ to display in the morning.
I checked the Key West radar at bedtime, and found a “teaser” image. While the one-hour loop provides little but a glimpse of the big picture of neotropical migration, the fluid motion from the quick refresh rate lends a dramatic touch. The depth of the blue color (10-15 DBZ) suggests a density of 71 to 109 birds per cubic kilometer. This morning, BADBIRDZ tells the whole story that is introduced by this “trailer.”
One-hour Key West loop at about 10:00 PM shows flocks departing en masse, first from the Keys, and then from the north coast of Cuba.
The Miami loop also showed a lot of activity, with a good number of birds apparently coming right over my house. I went outside, looked and listened for about 10 minutes. I heard nothing unusual. The moon was nearly full and straight up. I looked at it through binoculars until my neck and arms burned, and my eyes watered too badly, but saw no birds cross its face.
Miami radar one hour loop, at a little after 10:00 PM, again shows the beginning of what should prove to be a very interesting night. Now, we’re off to Illinois to catch up with that wave!