[CT Birds] Florida warbler fall-out May 1

Frank Mantlik mantlik at sbcglobal.net
Wed May 2 06:16:18 EDT 2012

In advance of some CT birders heading to Florida next week, Phil Rusch came 
across this posting of a true fallout of migrants at Key West, Florida 
yesterday.  I thought it would be of interest.

Did anyone else see the report about the 50-75 thousand warblet fallout at Key 
West this morning?  I can't even imagine the scene.  20,000 BT Blues.  See 

    Posted by Toe, for Murray Gardler for Carl Goodrich and Morgan Tingley on 
10:11:29 05/01/12

      Yes, those numbers are correct. The following was posted on FlaBirding 
about yesterday. This could qualify as a fallout, maybe.

      "I was birding this morning at Fort Zachary in Key West and also 
experienced the fall-out. I don't  subscribe to FLBIRDS, so you can re-post this 
for me. We                ran into Carl Gooodrich who was very helpful at 
locating and helping us find a life Swainson's Warbler amid the thousands of 

It was truly an impressive array of migrants. We arrived at Fort Zach at 10:30 
am and stayed until 12 noon when the rain picked up again (and remains strong). 
In total, we estimated around 30K-50K migrants (warblers, almost entirely) had 
been dumped into the park. Carl estimated 75,000. It's very difficult to say. 
This was based on counting birds per minute flitting past. Black-throated Blues 
were the most abundant (~20K estimated). At one point I had around 100 sitting 
on a dirt path in front of me, and they were constantly moving through, along 
with redstarts (~5000), ovenbirds (~3000), Black-and-whites (~3000), 
yellowthroats (~2000), catbirds (~2000), and amazingly (to me), yellow-billed 
cuckoos (easily  500, maybe over 1000). Grassy areas had western palms (~3000). 
Other warblers were around in smaller numbers: Cape May (10 seen), B-t-green 
(1), Parula (5), Hooded (1), Worm-eating (2), Nor Waterthrush (3), Blackpoll 
(80), and, aforementioned, 1 Swainson's. No orioles or tanagers or grosbeaks 
that we saw, and only a few indigo buntings (down from several days ago). Carl 
also alerted us to two Chuck-wills-widows that were competing with an osprey, 
tricolored herons and about 50 cuckoos for roosting space in a tiny grove of 
trees by the bathhouse. It was truly impressive."

Frank Mantlik

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