Coley has made it from Jamaica Bay to Cuba, over 1,350 miles, in just six days of flying. He flew the last 80 or so miles in the dark over the Straits of Florida, hitting land about 30 miles east of Havana. By late Sunday night he had settled in central Cuba, about 100 miles further east, after a fairly short day of migration.
Here are some details of his travels for the last three days of his journey:
September 14 – A fairly easy day for Coley heading south through Florida about 120 miles, passing on the east side of Lake Okeechobee and reaching a cypress hammock in the Everglades about 5 miles south of Alligator Alley (I-75) at 7pm.
September 15 – Big day for Coley – about 18 hours of travel. On the move again shortly after 6am, probably caught a fish and then spent a few hours resting/eating before continuing south. By 3pm he was over Florida Bay and by 4pm he was 3.5 miles southwest of Islamorada and Upper Matecumbe Key in the Florida Keys, beginning his non-stop flight into the night across the Straits of Florida to the north shore of Cuba. He made the 140 mile crossing in just under eight hours. At least 4 hours of that flight was in the dark. If you look at the map of his crossing, you can see he drifted westerly as he headed south, apparently by the prevailing winds that evening coming from the east.
September 16 – Our first data point this morning was about 30 miles east of Havana and about 3 miles east of the town of Santa Cruz del Norte on the north shore of Cuba. Sometime after 9am Coley took flight heading south for an hour, and then turned southeast and stayed basically in that direction for the rest of the day. Flying east/southeast along the middle of Cuba seems to be a favorite flight path of migrating Ospreys, as both of our Nantucket birds, Mr. Hannah and Señor Bones, have followed similar paths through Cuba.
September 17 – Just a few data points for this morning, more on this day in the next report.
I am happy to recognize that one of our followers, Scott Wilson, predicted that Coley would reach Cape Canaveral by September 13. Scott was close: Coley was only 50 miles southwest of Cape Canaveral when he stopped on the 13th. Now we will see if Scott’s prediction of September 25 for Coley reaching his wintering grounds will be correct.
Coley and Dr. Bob Signing off.