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First Day of Migration Monitoring 2015

September 15, 2015

Prairie Warbler (left) and Wilson’s Warbler (right) found in the Middle Keys on 9/15/2015. Photos by Ted Keyel.

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.


Chestnut-sided Warbler at Curry Hammock State Park. 9/15/2015. Photo by Ted Keyel.

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

TedKeyel at Curry 2015

First day at the hawkwatch. Ted Keyel scans the sky from the deck at Curry Hammock. Photo by Rafael Galvez.

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.

FKH First PEFA 2015 Keyel

The first Peregrine Falcon tallied at the hawkwatch for the fall of 2015. Photos by Ted Keyel.

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.


6 Comments leave one →
  1. Diane Reed permalink
    September 15, 2015 11:22 pm

    With the recent front passing through, had 1 Merlin and then a group of 3 Merlins in a two hour period. Sending them your way. Diane Reed NEFL Hawkwatch.

  2. Robin Diaz permalink
    September 16, 2015 2:46 am

    Congratulations to a great start and best of luck for a fantastic 2015 season. The Long Key SP reports are fascinating.

    • September 16, 2015 8:48 am

      Thanks Robin. I always think of you as the first person to tune me into the great potential of Long Key SP.

  3. Susan Daughtrey permalink
    September 17, 2015 4:27 am

    So nice to see your photo of the Wilson’s Warbler. It’s been a long time since I’ve laid eyes on one! We will be down there this year….see you soon!

    • September 17, 2015 5:27 pm

      Thanks Susan. Wilson’s are definitely not the most common warblers in the Keys, and are probably overlooked. We were also happy to see this bird.

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