Wow! I added seven new birds to my Florida life list last week as the spring migration rolled through southern Florida.
This has been an exceptionally good year down here and a recent weather front forced thousands of Warblers, Tanagers, Buntings, Thrushes, Cuckoos and Grosbeaks to linger here for a few days. Normally they would keep flying north.
There are four "tricks" to seeing a LOT of birds during spring migration.
1. You need to be outside. I noticed that I saw many more birds while walking around the Sanibel Lighthouse or Fort Desoto Park this year than I did in previous years when I stayed indoors working at my computer.
2. Monitor Daily Changes. Watch the weather channel for major fronts moving though your area that may affect bird migration. Check the online postings to see what others are finding in your area.
3. Know where the local bird migrant traps are. I typically think of the local birding spots as anything I can reach by car in 45 minutes. During migration you need to expand your horizons and think about "near" as anything within a four hour drive from your house. If you are ever going to venture out, this is the right week to do it!
4. Bird with a friend. You need more than one pair of eyes to find all the good birds out there! You need all the friends you can get when searching out those rare migrants. Be a friend too. Share information when you meet someone on the trail. Help newer birders with a tough ID.