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”


05 April 2016 – PNW Migration Update

Too much to do on the weekends – but the nocturnal flights during the good weather were in the moderate to heavy range.  Alas, i didn’t archive any loops.

Today, with cross winds, the flight was light last night.

Take a look at the Wind Map  and you can see why the Central Flyway had most of the action.

Common Yellowthroat, Barn Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Caspian Tern, Chipping Sparrow, Black-throated Gray Warbler, American White Pelican — all now being reported in good numbers in the Portland/Vancouver Basin.

Early arrivals in Oregon include: Vaux’s Swift, Nashville Warbler, Pacific-slope Flycatcher.

As well as arrivals there are also departures,  Tundra Swan, Snow Goose, Canvasback, Ruddy Duck, Ring-necked Duck  — all significantly down in numbers


29 October 2015 – PNW Migration Update

Well, it’s been a pretty low key couple of days.  The winds have shifted to more westerly but there are few birds on the move up here in the upper left corner.  I’m sure there are more waterfowl on the way but probably not going to be showing up in big waves.

Nice picture nationally; check the wind map, check the National Composite — winds out of the north; birds out of the north.  Central and Mississippi Flyways are still rocking it.

And … the Swans are back; someone reported them at Ridgefield a couple of days ago.  That signals the close of the season.  I may post a couple more times depending on events.  But if i don’t get around to it — all things tracking,  i’ll be back in the spring.

Here it is, your moment of zen.


27 October 2015 – PNW Migration Update

Winds continue out of the SSW; stronger along the coastal lands and weakening inland.  There are still light to moderate levels of migration taking place.  The moderate levels come in short waves; which is pretty cool because you can pick out individual flock movement.  But this season is getting long in the tooth.

Most folks on the listservs are out chasing this season’s rarities so the reports for regional migrant status dwindles a bit.  More Buffleheads and Common Mergansers but still no Swans.

23 October 2015 – PNW Migration Update

The stubborn ridge of high pressure is keeping the local winds out of the north.  but i don’t see that lasting too long as another low pressure system is spinning up out it the Pacific.  You can see this on today’s wind map.

Over all the southern reaches of our area of concern saw the best migration action last night; again, it was concentrated along the flanks of the Cascades and east of the Willamette.  There was a short but heavy flight across the Straight of Juan de Fuca last night as well.

Still haven;t heard of any Swans in the area but the Cranes are on the move in good numbers.  They even were reported in Clackamas County — not a common report by any means.

20 October 2015 – PNW Migration Update

Well, yesterday’s flight along the Washington coast went undocumented on the Washington listserv.  Perhaps today’s heavier flight will garner a comment or two.  But it is the middle of the week and the area is not heavily populated.  Today’s flight along the coast was no doubt aided by the ridge of high pressure that has sneaked in bringing a nice northerly flow – stronger along the coast.

Oregon’s flight last night was anemic but birds are still crossing the Straight in heavy numbers.  The Puget trough and western Cascades in Washington had a decent flight late into the evening.

Well, the first Buffleheads are being reported,  Swans will be next; that’s usually when i shut down for the season.

So, here it is, your moment of zen:


05 October 2015 – PNW Migration Update

I went out this weekend to do some ground proofing.

Snow Geese are now on Sauvie Island,

no signs of Swans along the Columbia,

Ruby Crowned Kinglets are back in numbers and can still be heard singing as they arrive,

shorebird numbers are down,

duck numbers are up; with Rudy Ducks, Common and Hooded Mergansers being the new comers (Buffleheads close out the season in my reckoning),

wintering sparrow numbers are up; with Fox, Lincoln’s, and White-throated all being detected,

DC Cormorant numbers are increasing

and pink footed gulls are beginning to arrive as well.

Migration in the Metro Area last night was light to moderate, but to the north, in the Puget Sound area, there was a heavy flow of birds across the Straights.  So, here it is, your moment of zen: