15 apr 2014 PNW Migration Update

With winds shifting to WNW the pace of migration abated a bit last night.  Or perhaps they were spooked by the blood moon.  Either way the march north continues just at a slower pace.

All of the swallows have been reported, a Western Flycatcher, and reports to our south on the appearance of Wilson’s Warblers.  Here they come.

Pacific Northwest Radar: (Click on the links below to open the .gif files in a new window)

15 Apr Base Reflectivity - Portland (KRTX)

15 Apr Base Reflectivity – Gray’s Harbor (KLGX)

15 Apr  Base Reflectivity - Seattle (KATX)

Here is the grand view of the winds aloft from Earth:

15 Apr  Earth

Here is Paul’s archived National Radar Composite from yesterday.  The SE coast, a couple of spots in New England and along the Pacific Flyway.  But other than that, the Northerlies had the birds sit last night out.

And here are the weather maps (click on any image to bring up a full gallery view)

14 Apr 2014 PNW Migration Update

Over the weekend the high pressure system parked out in the Pacific kept winds out of the north.  They weren’t particularly strong and movement north took place but at a lackluster pace.

Now that the next low trough is moving in it’s leading edge is drawing wind up out of the south and that is a much more favorable set of conditions.  And, last night’s radar bears witness.  Solid heavy, 20+ dBZ, migration across the region.  Migrants are arriving a wee bit earlier than the norm. Cassin’s Vireo, Nashville Warbler, Vaux’s Swifts — all being reported from the area.  Duck numbers continue to dwindle and the geese are thinning out a bit.

Pacific Northwest Radar: (Click on the links below to open the .gif files in a new window)

14 Apr Base Reflectivity - Portland (KRTX)

14 Apr Base Reflectivity – Gray’s Harbor (KLGX)

14 Apr  Base Reflectivity - Seattle (KATX)

Here is the grand view of the winds aloft from Earth:

14 Apr  Earth

Here is Paul’s archived National Radar Composite from yesterday.  Both coasts are jammed with birds and the mid-west sat last night out.  Check out the image from Earth above and all will be revealed.

And here are the weather maps (click on any image to bring up a full gallery view)

11 Apr 2014 PNW Migration Update

Winds are out of the north as the high pressure ridge remains in place offshore.  But they are not proving to be overly restrictive.  Birds are on the move again.  Not quite as heavy as last night – probably due to the increased wind speed.

Barn Swallows are now in the area.  Black-thoated Grays, Empids, and Kingbirds are just to our south.  Ah, don’t you just love this time of the year!

Pacific Northwest Radar: (Click on the links below to open the .gif files in a new window)

11 Apr Base Reflectivity - Portland (KRTX)

11 Apr Base Reflectivity – Gray’s Harbor (KLGX)

11 Apr  Base Reflectivity - Seattle (KATX)

Here is the grand view of the winds aloft at 850 hPa (mb):
(go here for the dynamic experience)

11 Apr  Earth

Here is Paul’s archived National Radar Composite from yesterday.  Now, if you compare the “grand view” with the radar composite it just makes sense.

And here are the weather maps (click on any image to bring up a full gallery view)

Let me take just a bit here to talk about http://earth.nullschool.net,  This code is just amazing.  You can zoom in, zoom out, and rotate to anywhere on earth.  You can select the winds at eight different altitudes.  There are eight weather data overlays available.  There are eight earth projections available.  You can go back in time by 3 hr or daily intervals up to 5 days!  I am just simply blown away.   Cameron Beccario (@cambecc) is a freaking genius!  Here’s an update:  you can even switch the mode to observer ocean currents!

09 Apr 2014 PNW Migration Update

The advance of this little trough brought a little rain and winds shifting to NNW.  Not ideal and most migrants sat last night out waiting for better times.  In today’s loop you can see a few flocks brave the conditions but not many.  This same scenario was repeated across the whole Pacific Northwest.  Birds are still pushing north to the south of us.  The Shasta listserve is lit up with Black-headed Grosbeaks, Black-throated Gray’s, and Orioles.  It won’t be long now.

Pacific Northwest Radar: (Click on the links below to open the .gif files in a new window)

09 Apr Base Reflectivity - Portland (KRTX)

Here is Paul’s archived National Radar Composite from yesterday.  From Brownsville to Sacramento, the Southwest saw the heaviest migration last night.  It was kind of patchy up the Central Flyway and pretty much a non-event elsewhere.

And here are the weather maps (click on any image to bring up a full gallery view)

04 Apr 2014 PNW Migration Update

Another cold front is moving in from the Pacific.  Lots of clouds and scattered precipitation.  In the loops we can see a wee bit of opportunistic migration but that’s about it.  It’s still early in the season and there are better days ahead.

Pacific Northwest Radar: (Click on the links below to open the .gif files in a new window)

04 Apr Base Reflectivity - Portland (KRTX)

04 Apr HC - Portland (KRTX)

Here is Paul’s archived National Radar Composite from yesterday.  The severe storms pounding the mid-west kept migrants restricted to the Gulf States last night.  The southern portion of the Pacific Flyway was quite active, and some of those birds are headed our way.

And here are the weather maps (click on any image to bring up a full gallery view)

Next update will be on Monday the 7th.

02 Apr 2014 PNW Migration Update

The small ridge of high pressure has eased inland over night and has pushed the weather east.  The north winds are light and not forceful enough to keep the migrants grounded.  Looking at the loops from last night we see the west counties loaded up while the east counties were dealing with the remnant low.

The coast and the I5 corridor to our north also had significant migrant turnover so those loops are included in today’s update.  Yellowthroats, Orange-crown Warblers, and shorebirds are all popping up on the listserves.  As well as the usual overly optimistic sightings of Swainson’s Thrushes.  Sigh.

Pacific Northwest Radar: (Click on the links below to open the .gif files in a new window)

02 Apr Base Reflectivity - Portland (KRTX)

02 Apr Base Velocity - Portland (KRTX)

31 Mar HC - Portland (KRTX)

02 Apr Base Reflectivity – Gray’s Harbor (KLGX)

02 Apr  Base Reflectivity - Seattle (KATX)

Here is Paul’s archived National Radar Composite from yesterday.  The Atlantic Flyway has it’s first significant widespread migration event last night.  Cuban birds jumped the Straits, and the Gulf Coast was lit up again.  Good stuff!

And here are the weather maps (click on any image to bring up a full gallery view)

01 Apr 2014 PNW Migration Upate

In spite of the weather the birds were able to find a window early in the evening to get a bit further north.  When looking at the Reflectivity loop from last night shortly after sunset (03:00 UTC – 20:00 PDT) you will see a flight up the I5 corridor.  The localized nature of these storm cells is allowing for some opportunistic advances north, and the SSE winds are aiding in those efforts.

There is a ridge of high pressure behind this current system which may dry things out but will also be bringing winds out of the north.  For the migrants its all about timing.

Pacific Northwest Radar: (Click on the links below to open the .gif files in a new window)

31 Mar Base Reflectivity - Portland (KRTX)

31 Mar Base Velocity - Portland (KRTX)

Here is Paul’s archived National Radar Composite from yesterday.  Widespread migration along the Gulf Coast, up into the Ohio Valley, and along the western flanks of the Appalachians, but shut down most everywhere else.

And here are the weather maps (click on any image to bring up a full gallery view)

31 Mar 2014 PNW Migration Update

Saturday and Sunday saw light and opportunistic migration.  Some, here and there between the rain cells that moved through.

But last night it was a different story.  Great conditions, south winds and only minor rain, had the radars lit up across the PNW.

A new low system is spinning up out in the Pacific dragging cold air out of the Gulf of Alaska.  It might slow things down for tomorrow.  It depends on when we get to the back side and the north winds that follow it.

Pacific Northwest Radar: (Click on the links below to open the .gif files in a new window)

31 Mar Base Reflectivity - Portland (KRTX)

31 Mar Base Velocity - Portland (KRTX)

31 Mar HC - Portland (KRTX)

31 Mar Base Reflectivity – Gray’s Harbor (KLGX)

31 Mar Base Reflectivity - Seattle (KATX)

Here is Paul’s archived National Radar Composite from yesterday.  While the Atlantic Flyway was shut down  the Mississippi Flyway was lit up from Brownsville to Green Bay!

And here are the weather maps (click on any image to bring up a full gallery view)

28 Mar 2014 PNW Migration Update

The birds found a window from sundown until around 1:00 am, where there was mainly an exodus from the Portland area and up the I5 corridor.  Then some significant weather moved in and it looks like they put down for the rest of the evening.

Winds will remain out of the south as a new low moves in.  But this one is much more organized and may have some heavy precipitation in it’s bowels, and with few breaks.

For those that are new to reading the radar loops: As you look at last night’s loops right around 02:30 Zulu (UTC) you will note a strong radial signal coming from the west of the radar.  That is the sun going down and is termed a “sun strobe”.  If you see one coming out of the east, that is sunrise.  Anyway, under normal circumstances in the PNW the birds take flight shortly after sundown and you can see the migrant bloom.

Since World War II, birds, bats, and bugs – the biodetections that appeared on military radar and subsequently on weather radar-have been considered a nuisance to be filtered out. Because they appeared at night and disappeared at dawn and were wispy and ethereal the detections of migrating birds on radar were termed “angels” by early radar technicians.  Angels indeed.

Pacific Northwest Radar: (Click on the links below to open the .gif files in a new window)

28 Mar Base Reflectivity - Portland (KRTX)

28 Mar Base Velocity - Portland (KRTX)

28 Mar HC - Portland (KRTX)

And because it is always a treat to watch the flight over the straits of Florida here is the Reflectivity loop from Key West last night:  It’s a long loop so wait for the sun strobe and then … boom!  Birds!

28 Mar Base Reflectivity – Key West (KBYX)

Here is Paul’s archived National Radar Composite from yesterday. We see the first significant movement along the SE Atlantic states, and some massive movement into Texas and up the Central Flyway.

And here are the weather maps (click on any image to bring up a full gallery view).

I will again be taking the weekend off from the updates, but i will check the radar and save any loops that show significant movement and get them posted on Monday.

27 Mar 2014 PNW Migration Update

Until this highly unstable series of pressure differentials passes it’s going to be tough on the birds to get any traction north and tough on us to see through the goop if they do.

Stay tuned and i’ll put something up when there are discernible radar returns of migration events.