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”

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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:

09 October 2017 – PNW Migration Update

RTX is back on line … for now:

497
NOUS66 KPQR 070250
FTMRTX
Message Date: Oct 07 2017 02:56:19

Dopper Radar KRTX, serving SW Washington and NW Oregon was returned to service s
everal hours ago. So far, so good.

It was a spectacular flight last night!  Solid returns across the region.  Highlight was the coastal flight returns.  We don’t get to see these often and are the result of high flying migrants.

I didn’t get into the field much this weekend, just a walk down Rentenaar Rd on Sauvie Island, so i don’t have any ground reports of note.  Hunting season starts next weekend on ODFW Wildlife Management Areas – Saturday 14 October.  There’s not much water in the seasonal units like Rentenaar, Mudhen and Dead Willow.  Except for flyover Cackling Geese i didn’t see a single duck.

 

02 October 2017 – PNW Migration Update

NOUS66 KPQR 010407
FTMRTX
Message Date: Oct 01 2017 04:08:15

As of 0400 UTC Sunday, October 1, 2017, KRTX radar continues to experience signi
ficant technical issues which prevent the reliable operation of the radar. Howev
er, KRTX has been repaired to the point where NWS Portland can run the radar a f
ew minutes at a time before KRTX fails again. Until further notice, this will on
ly be done for testing purposes or if threatening weather approaches. /Weagle

Yeah, that sucks.

On the ground:

Timothy Lake had tons of Western Grebes, reports of dozens of Common Loons on Saturday but i didn’t see any on Sunday but it was raining pretty steadily, Barrow’s Goldeneye are still on the lake and a lone Red-necked Grebe was seen.

On the valley floor Varied Thrush and Dark-eyed Juncos are moving in, i saw, and most remarkably heard still singing a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Fox and Golden-crowned Sparrows are increasing in numbers, Cackling Geese are being reported into the thousands, Sandhill Cranes are into the hundreds, a few Mallard and Green-wing Teal males are coming out of eclipse, House Wrens and Western Wood Pewees are apparently gone.  Still no reports of Buffleheads.

Since RTX is down i’m throwing in the loop for ATX (Seattle).  We still have solid movement through out the Sound and most noticeable across the Strait.

18 September 2017 – PNW Migration Update

There is not much to see on the radar due to the clouds and rain so we’ll save some disc space today and leave out the radar loop.

Over the weekend FOS  and changes noted: Sandhill Cranes are back by the hundreds, Great Egrets are staging in the hundreds, Cackling Geese numbers reaching the thousands, Golden-crowned and Fox Sparrows are showing up, Lincoln’s Sparrow and Dark-eyed Junco numbers are increasing on the valley floor as they come down out of the mountains, and Double-crested Cormorants are moving inland.

I probably missed a few as well.

A static shot of the National Radar Composite shows the very active Mississippi Flyway but with good movement down the Atlantic and moderate movement along the Central Flyway

15 September 2017 – PNW Migration Update

Another solid night of migration with returns into the 20+ dBZ range.  More noticeable migrants pile out of the Nisqually Basin and into the Vancouver Basin.

Reports of more Cackling Geese, first Hermit Thrushes on the valley floor, Fox and Golden Crowned Sparrows as well.  We are well into the season and trips into the field this weekend should yield plenty of FOS birds.  The Chapman School Vaux’s Swifts are still piling into the chimney by the thousands each night.

Barn Swallows continue to roost and fly-out at dawn along the Willamette River in Yamhill County.  The evening roost flight was particularly dense last night.

14 September 2017 – PNW Migration Update

There’s still a lot of smoke in the air which is spiking returns along the Cascades.

Speaking of which the divers are now passing through the high lakes; loons, grebes, and diving ducks are being reported.  There is still sizable movement of shorebirds and the first Cackling Geese are being reported.

The Barn Swallows continue to put on a show at dawn.