15 September 2015 – PNW Migration Update

In spite of decent conditions, migration in the area remains tepid at best.

So, lets look elsewhere.  Today we’ll look at the national level and one curious spot. Nationally take a look at the Wind map, note the strong flows up the Central and Mississippi Flyways, and then note the paucity of migrants.  The east coast, with milder conditions, dominates the scene last night.  Since we showed Jacksonville recently i’m leaving that out, but it was jamming again last night with returns again pushing the 40 dBZ levels.

So, take a look at the loop from El Paso, TX from last night.  What i am curious about is the ring of returns that pops up for about an hour — just before avian migration takes place.  Look for it in the lower center of the frame over in Mexico.  I’m GUESSING, bats.  But, if anyone knows for sure – let me know.  Whatever they are, there are a ton of them dispersing from a single point.


14 September 2015 – PNW Migration Update

We still have a nice weather pallet for migration; light winds mainly out of the north, no rain, and a persistent, but weak, high pressure ridge out in the Pacific.

But, movement is moderate at best here in the Pacific Northwest.  It’s one of those days where i go looking for the hot spots; pull up Paul’s archived image from last night, look for the action, and then pull up the loop from that station.  And that’s how the town of Jacksonville Florida ends up in the tag cloud.

Here it is, your moment of zen:

Yeah, those returns are pushing 40dbz, for a significant amount of the night — MILLIONS of birds on the move.

09 September 2015 – PNW Migration Update

I’m having a bit of trouble using WordPress — it keeps crashing and i am losing my drafts.

This is the third attempt and i’m just going to post the radar and wind maps i intended to comment on.

Update: Here’s a great article on Radar Ornithology that Tom Auer (his web site is found in the side bar) just tweeted.


03 September 2015 – PNW Migration Update

OK this is more better.

With the winds shifting on the shoulder of a weak high pressure system, a bit of the pent up migration urges were released last night. We had a fairly heavy passing last night — even a tiny touch up into the 30 dBZ zone (yellow).  Nothing like Duluth a couple of days ago, but still pretty solid.

For today’s moment of zen we have Cameron’s Winds of the Earth,  the loop from our local RTX station, and a static shot of the National Composite archived over on Paul’s website.

I pulled back on the WOTE snap shot so we can see the line of typhoons out in the Pacific.  Anytime you see red in the Wind Power Density plot, just hope it’s not headed for you.

01 September 2015 – Migration Update

Looking at the wind mapping you can see that the inland pipeline is still being hampered by strong southerlies, especially in BC.  But the strong fliers coming out of Alaska may just hitch a ride out over the ocean and pass up Washington and Northern Oregon.  Eh, who knows.

In any event, migration in the metro area was muted and probably limited to reshuffling.  So lets take a look at the National Composite (thanks Paul!).  Pretty muted, but more widespread — except for this season’s darling – Duluth!

So i cherry picked that loop; and note the EXTREME radar returns way into the 30 dBZ zone, which is off the charts crazy.


31 August 2015 – PNW Migration Update

We had a wild weekend.  There was very little that could be seen through the heavy weather and i doubt very much was on the move.

We still have some pretty stiff winds to our north but things calmed down a bit in the metro area.  There was some moderate levels of migration last night but that was about it.

Looking at the wind map this morning and we find most of the flyways being challenged with strong southerly winds.  The effect of which is low levels of migration and can be seen on Paul’s archived national composite from last night: here.

26 August 2015 – Migration Update

Meh, we still have not had any major influx of migrants.  We are getting reports of arriving ducks (they all look just brown to me this time of year); Shovelers, GW Teal, and Pintails. So migrants are on the move — just not spectacular masses of them – yet.

The local radar image looks just like yesterday so, instead, lets look at the national composite, archived by Paul, and cherry pick –  Duluth!  I added a shot of the Winds of the Earth to show the north winds that are facilitating the flight down the Mississippi Flyway.

05 May 2015 — PNW Migration Update

A turn in the weather put a bit of a damper on last nights trip north.  There were birds in the air, just not many of them — comparatively.  Still no word on our last two holdouts.  But, the Red-eyed Vireos have shown up at their preferred haunts on the Sandy River Delta.

Big flights last night along the Central, Mississippi, and Atlantic Flyways.  Check out Paul’s archived National Radar Composite, and Cameron’s wind map for insight on what made that happen.

Since the flight last night was light to moderate and through some heavy cloud cover, today’s loop is the Hydrometer Classification so the Biological returns stand out.

04 May 2015 — PNW Migration Update

Moderate to heavy migration took place all weekend. New arrivals were everywhere out in the field.  I still haven’t seen any reports for Western Wood Pewee or Willow Flycatcher.  Good numbers of Swainson’s Thrush were out and tonight, in a clear, full moon sky, i heard about a half a dozen nocturnal flight calls in the two minutes i spent listening.

The Atlantic Flyway finally got some love last night.  For a full report head over to Tom’s recap.

20 April 2015 — PNW Migration Update

Yesterday in the narrative we had twelve migrants yet to be reported in the Northern Willamette Valley.  To day we are left with eight.  Yesterday there were reports of Yellow-breasted Chat, Yellow Warbler, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Black-headed Grosbeak.  To our south in the Shasta area a Common Nighthawk was reported.

Great conditions, clear skies and a nice tail wind – BOOM!  Heavy migration last night, all night.  The loop says it all.

Take a look at the wind map and you can predict the scenario.  Northeast – shut down.  Mississippi and Central – pile up in Texas and continuation behind the weather.  Pacific – open for business.