20 Apr 2015 — PNW Migration Update

Over the weekend there have been a few reports of MacGillivray’s, Wilson’s, Nashville and Hermit Warbler, somewhere in Oregon a Western Kingbird, the first report of a Cassin’s Vireo, and a few “Western” Flycatchers.  Shorebirds are beginning to build in numbers as they move through.

Out on Sauvie Island (where i spent my weekend) Sandhill Crane numbers are way down as are most waterfowl numbers.  I haven’t seen a Canvasback or Ruddy Duck for a few weeks now and Scaup and Bufflehead are hard to come by.  Double-crested Cormorants are gone, and a few A. White Pelicans are moving through — probably on their way to the recently established breeding colony on the lower Columbia.

Last night’s radar (KRTX) was lit up solid green.  The stable, calm weather as a new ridge establishes is providing a nice set of flight conditions and the birds are taking advantage. I threw in a loop of the Medford (KMAX) radar because it’s rare to see such density from this station.

Update: Warbling Vireo, Yellow Warbler, and Western Tanager have made it to the Willamette Valley.

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29 May 2014 PNW Migration Update

Some rather unstable weather, WNW winds, it’s late in the season …. and still there is a sea of feathers overhead.  Well, maybe just a puddle, but impressive none the less.

As the high pressure ridge builds in behind our recent low we can expect the winds to shift to a more northerly component, but the skies should clear.  So it will depend on the strength of the winds tomorrow night to determine the magnitude of the last covered flight of the season.  I’m hoping the winds are light and the sky is filled with the remnants of the feathered travelers.  The past few nights i have regularly heard the nocturnal flight calls of Swainson’s Thrush – it’s comforting, and brings a bit of joy to my world.

Before we take a look at the loops: “Message Date: May 28 2014 15:26:44 KRTX MAY HAVE PERIODIC DATA LOSS TODAY FROM 28/16Z THROUGH 29/02Z DUE TO AN AWIP S UPGRADE AT WFO PORTLAND.”

I have no idea what that means and i don’t really see any problems in the loop, but some more discerning eye might so, there you have it.

29 May Base Reflectivity - Portland (KRTX)

29 May Base Reflectivity – Gray’s Harbor (KLGX)

29 May Base Reflectivity - Seattle (KATX)

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

29 May Earth: WPD at 850 mb

Here is Paul’s archived National Radar Composite from yesterday. Look at the wind map, and then the radar.

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

12 May PNW Migration Update

The high pressure ridge proved a bit more tenacious than i had anticipated.  I took a quick peak at the radar on Sunday morning.  Migration was a happening event at moderate to heavy levels across the region.  And last night, even with less than ideal wind conditions, birds were heavily on the move again.

The radar in Seattle (KATX) is down.  The operators didn’t leave a message on the NOAA hot line so i’m not sure of the future status.  So, we’ll take a look to the south today and put up a loop for Medford (KMAX).  Mainly because the heavy migration through there last night was about as good as it gets in that area.  Yea!  more birds on the way.

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

12 May Base Reflectivity - Portland (KRTX)

12 May Base Reflectivity – Gray’s Harbor (KLGX)

12 May  Base Reflectivity - Medford (KMAX)

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

12 May Earth: WPD at 850 mb

Here is Paul’s archived National Radar Composite from yesterday. Look at the wind map, and then the radar.

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

24 Mar 2014 PNW Migration Update

The high pressure ridge has slowly moved inland and is being replaced with a bit of a low trough.  As that moves east we will get winds out of the south.  So, depending on the amount of rain, conditions are going to be in the service of north bound migrants.

Over the weekend as the high moved in, winds were out of the north but very light.  Last night, as the high was pretty much centered over the region, there were practically no winds and migrants had free reign of the skies.  Which they took full advantage of and gave us our first “green doughnut” of the season.  Returns were up to 20+ dBZ across the region. I’ve included a number of loops from last night taking a survey of the region as well as one from over the weekend out of RTX.  Taken together these give a really good picture of the state of this season’s migration.  We’re right on the edge of the building surge.

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

23 Mar Base Reflectivity - Portland (KRTX)

24 Mar Base Reflectivity - Portland (KRTX)

24 Mar Base Velocity - Portland (KRTX)

24 Mar HC - Portland (KRTX)

24 Mar Base Reflectivity - Medford (KMAX)

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

24 Mar Base Reflectivity - Seattle (KATX)

Here is Paul’s archived National Radar Composite from yesterday.  Not much happening as north winds have sealed off the east.  And once again the PNW and California Central Valley are the migration hot spots.

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

21 Mar 2014 PNW Migration Update

The weather pattern is pretty stagnant and the birds in our area are just milling around if they are moving at all.  There was some directional movement in the Puget Sound area and again over the Sisikyous.  But along the I5 corridor not much is happening.

Portland (Click on the links below to open the .gif files in a new window)
21 Mar Base Reflectivity - Portland (KRTX)

21 Mar Base Velocity - Portland (KRTX)

21 Mar HC - Portland (KRTX)

21 Mar Base Reflectivity - Medford (KMAX)

Here is Paul’s archive National Radar Composite from yesterday.  Central and Mississippi Flyways were quite active last night – take a look.  Also there is a lot of FOS chatter on the San Diego listserve, so birds are in the pipeline.

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

Admin Note: This season i’ve decided to take the weekends off to get a jump start on field surveys.  I’ll check the radars and download any significant loops and post them as i can fit them in, hopefully on the following Monday.

20 Mar 2014 PNW Migration Update

Spring Equinox.

The high pressure ridge continues to hang out in the Pacific and winds continue to be out of the WNW.  Not ideal conditions, and maybe the geese and ducks are taking a break, but very little migrant movement took place last night.

I checked in on the Medford (KMAX) radar and they had a few birds in the air but readings didn’t get much above 10 dBZ.  So that loop is included in today’s files.

Portland (Click on the links below to open the .gif files in a new window)
20 Mar Base Reflectivity - Portland (KRTX)

20 Mar Base Velocity - Portland (KRTX)

20 Mar HC - Portland (KRTX)

20 Mar Base Reflectivity - Medford (KMAX)

Here is Paul’s archive National Radar Composite from yesterday.  Migrant movement was seen along the Gulf Coast, up Florida, and along the length of the Central Valley of California –  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)

19 Mar 2014 PNW Migration Update

The ridge of high pressure has kind of stalled and while this brings clear skies the winds remain out of the WNW, but very lightly.  This provoked some migrants to head north but in very light densities.   Looking at the Reflectivity loop we can see some returns exceeding 10 dBZ but not many and not for long.  All in all, a very lightly traveled Pacific Flyway last night.

I put in a loop for the Medford (KMAX) radar from last night which shows the same pattern; movement, but low density.

Here are last night’s loops (click on the links to bring up the .gif files):

Portland:
19 Mar Base Reflectivity - Portland (KRTX)

19 Mar Base Velocity - Portland (KRTX)

19 Mar HC - Portland (KRTX)

19 Mar Base Reflectivity - Medford (KMAX)

Here is Paul’s archive National Radar Composite from yesterday.  More movement up from Texas.  Tonight the birds went up the Mississippi Flyway and into the Ohio Valley.  A bit more widespread than last night.  Not much happening along the east coast – except weather.

Here are the weather maps: