Migration Season Has Begun at CREW

Red Maple
Red Maple

It’s that time of year. When birders get giddy and other folks who actually pay attention to things outside their cars and houses begin to notice different flying objects within their view. At CREW, the signs are obvious – the seasons are a-changin’. Water levels are high, the weather is hot and humid, and the maple trees are starting to turn burgundy while the cypress needles hint at turning brown. But the most dramatic changes right now are in the air.

Our feathered friends are heading for their winter homes, and that means some are leaving southwest Florida, some are arriving for their winter stay, and some are just passing through. During the past two weeks, the swallow-tailed kites have been seen circling in groups of 10, 20, 30 and more, staging for their trip back to South America.  This week, the tree and barn swallows have been racing through the skies in their characteristic swooping, circling flights chasing after flying insects like dragonflies, damselflies, and wasps. And Joe Bozzo, the SFWMD project manager for CREW, spotted prothonotary warblers and Louisiana waterthrushes at Bird Rookery Swamp already.

Photo by George Luther

So, if you want to catch some of this amazing migratory action, grab your binoculars and come on out to the CREW trails to see what you can find. The CREW Marsh Trails are a designated Great Florida Birding Trail site, and I’ve heard bitterns calling in the seasonal pond several times during the last two weeks. The Bird Rookery Swamp boardwalk and the trail just past the boardwalk is a regular “hot spot” for great migratory birds. Joe says to watch for yellow-billed cuckoos, red-eyed vireos, prairie warblers and black-throated blue warblers. Last year the orange-crowned warblers and Baltimore orioles were common sightings there, too.

Let us know what you see – post it here as a comment – so others can go see it, too.


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