RH Wdpkrs & SJP phenomenon
- Julie, Ross and I also had 2 juveniles down at the marina on St Joe peninsula last week and they were heading north along the peninsula.
Actually, I find that very interesting.
Circum-Gulf migrants (sometimes called "peninsular migrants") fly around the Gulf, either down the coast of Florida, or using the Texas Coast down to Mexico (rather than crossing the Gulf as trans-Gulf migrants do). These are the birds some of you have mentioned flying east in fall on SGI, or elsewhere along the coast. They include such birds as flickers, Barn (and other) Swallows, E Kingbirds, Palm Warblers, etc.
When these birds are flying east through Gulf County, they experience an interesting geographical situation. By following the coastline, they head south from Pt. St. Joe to the base of the St. Joe Peninsula, and then follow the peninsula west (!), and then north, as the peninsula is dog-legged. It's a little odd to think of fall migrants flying north, you know, but they are following the coastline.
Upon reaching nearly the end of the peninsula, these birds head east over to near Pt. St. Joe, and re-trace their steps south. However, the second time, they cut diagonally SE toward St. Vincent Island, and have, in effect, cut the corner that got them turned around. I have seen a disproportionately large number of immatures flying up the peninsula, and I suspect many adult learn their lesson from previous years. I noticed Andy's birds were juveniles.
As some RHWo do winter in the peninsula, I now firmly believe coastal RHWo are on their way to the peninsula, NOT considering trans-Gulf migration. Of course, t/G migration probably started as birds learn to cut corners, doing so more and more, so these RHWo may seem to be doing just that. But clearly, they don't winter in the tropics.
Thank you, Any, for the observation and report!
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