30 October 2017 – PNW Migration Update

The radar tells the story — birds are moving but in a very subdued and patchy fashion.

Like the Willow Flycatcher in spring it’s the Bufflehead that i look for in fall to signal “the end” of migration.  Not actually the end because there will still be migrants filling in from behind.  And here i;m not talking about vanguard individuals but a bulk presence; some sense of a density that signals “arrival”.

So, on Sunday (non-hunt day) is traveled a couple of the accessible areas on Sauvie Island. Bufflehead, Canvasback, Lesser Scaup, Dusky Canada Geese and Tundra Swans had all arrived is solid numbers.  And filling in from behind are large numbers of Cackling and Snow Geese, Northern Pintails, Ring-necked Ducks, and American Coots.

There’s still time up on the Cascade Lakes for transiting divers, and if you have the privilege of free weekdays, taking advantage of this weather to scout them may be worthwhile.

I’ll keep an eye on the radar and an ear to the ground, but unless we get a new surge, and the radar returns remain feeble this may be the last post of the season.

So, here it is, “your moment of zen”


26 October 2017 – PNW Migration Update

I’m still not seeing the duck numbers i expect but the Cackling Geese have DEFINITELY arrived.  I saw 2 to 3 thousand of them yesterday in the rural fields of Clackamas County.

But the number of migrants wanes:

25 October 2017 – PNW Migration Update

light, with spots to the north of moderate to heavy, migration last night.

There’s no weather and winds out of the north.  The big waves of migrants have passed through but there are a ton of ducks still missing.

23 October 2017 – PNW Migration Update

First clear night since the last update and it was, as expected, a moderate event.  We still see good movement on the western flanks of the Cascades and a nice pulse mid-valley probably associated with duck and goose movement between the NWR’s.

I’m not seeing much except coastal movements on the listserves. I got out into the field a little this weekend; found a large flock of Pine Siskins, and had about 30 gulls around the Willamette Falls area – one Western, one Herring, and 28 Olympic, no Icelandic and no pure(ish) Glaucous-winged.

18 October 2017 – PNW Migration Update

The slowing of migration continues.  In fact it is barely noticeable in the Portland area.  So we’ll take a look at the ATX (Seattle) radar where the migration returns are more pronounced, especially across the Strait.

17 October 2017 – PNW Migration Update

Another low density night.  Two in a row signals the waning of the season.  There’s still plenty of ducks to show up but they might just trickle in.

A weather system is headed in from the Gulf of Alaska.  Adventurous birders could scour the coast for oddball Asian vagrants.  Not my cup of tea but, just saying…

16 October 2017 – PNW Migration Update

MIA end of last week because the rain obscured any migrant returns, if any.

Last night we begin to see the waning of the season.  Fairly light across the Metro Region.  Most decent returns are along the western flanks of the Cascades.

Ducks are coming out of eclipse plumage.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet numbers are up as are the wintering sparrow numbers.  Pine Siskins are invading coastal counties. And a first report of a Rough-legged Hawk, also on the coast.

The Snow Geese are back on Sauvie Island.