Birds were jamming last night! Decent conditions, light northerly winds on a clear night across the Pacific Northwest.
The grand passage of the Greater White-fronted Geese yesterday – wow! Probably a once in a lifetime experience. From the Portland Basin to the Southern Coast reports came in of GWFG in the thousands passing overhead. A remarkable event.
Anyway i added the Seattle radar loop today because it was packed with birds and i don’t think i’ve posted one from there this season. So here it is, your moment of zen:
Winds of the Earth
Base Reflectivity – ATX
Base Reflectivity – RTX
Oh, look at the RTX loop and see if you can spot the Barn Swallows going to roost, Starts around 00:00 UTC.
Andy Williams, Edward Pola and George Wyle just weren’t birders.
This, right now, coming out from the winter gloom and into a promise of full on returns — this is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Well, OK, everybody gets their pick, but this is mine. I just love Spring and the arrival of our migrant birds, the emergence of the Dragonflies, Butterflies, and Spring Wildflowers. Mourning Cloaks, Grass Widows, Desert Parsley, Forktails — it is all happening NOW.
Barn Swallows, Ospreys, Sora, Swainson’s Hawks — they are all in the pipeline, and vanguards are being reported. RC Kinglets have been singing for a while now. Same with White-crowned Sparrows. Bushtits are pairing up and the roving flocks of 20-30 birds are dissipating. It doesn’t get much better than this!
Weather conditions were ideal with a bit of a tail wind out of the NW, clear skies, and an urge to push south. Birds are on the move.
Watch the tail end of the radar loop below closely (Click on the gallery to bring up a screen size image). As the migrants thin out, but not quite put down, a small bright green flash appears along the Willamette River between Yamhill and Marion counties — Swallows.
A fairly decent night of migration in the face of light crosswinds out of the east and upper level southerly flow. The bloom sticks mainly to the east side of the I5 corridor.
The .gif file below shows the dBZ reaching the 25 – 30 range indicating heavy, if not widespread, migration last night.
RTX Base Velocity 16 Sept 2014
On the Barn Swallow front; examining the past static images, and the one enclosed today, it appears there is actually three roosts taking off just after dawn. In today’s image i have highlighted the clusters just as they begin to rise and prior to dispersal.
Really not much happening on the broader migration front. Of note is that the Sandhill Cranes are back in good numbers out on Sauvie Island.
Today i have put together a quilt of images showing the Swallow morning fly-out on the Yamhill/Marion County border. I can’t slow the .gif files down and this goes by pretty fast. It takes about 45 minutes in total but that is covered in only 5 or 6 frames. You can always go to the COD weather website and control the image speed, but here it is in single frames stiched together. (i think my time marking may be off by 10 minutes or so)
Click on the thumbnail to bring up a larger image:
Well, it had to happen some time. The blog is running out of free disk space. So, posting from now on will be sparse and limited to a few Choice snapshots of each season.
Like last night and this morning. Excellent migrant bloom sustained throughout the night, with tracks up into the Puget trough. And — as a bonus — at 13:30 UTC (06:30 PDT) for four frames there can be seen the morning exodus of the swallow roost on the border of Yamhill and Marion Counties. It last for about four to six frames and the density is impressive. (Click on the thumbnail below to bring up a larger animated .gif file)
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)
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)
Vorticity – 500 mb
Winds Aloft – 850 mb
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!