Mlodinow, S, S.Feldstein and B.Tweit. 1999. The Bristle-thighed Curlew landfall of 1998: Climate factors and notes on identification. W. Birds 30:133-155.
Patterson, M. 1998. The Great Curlew Fallout. Field Notes 52:150-155.
Knee Deep in Bristle-thighed Curlews
|May 30-31, 1969||Grant Bay, British Columbia|
|May 18, 1980||Leadbetter Point, WA|
|May 1, 1982||Leadbetter Point, WA|
|May 13-14, 1983||Blackie Spit, Boundary Bay, British Columbia|
|Sep 1, 1982||Tofino, British Columbia|
|Sep 11, 1986||Sidney Spit, Victoria, British Columbia|
|Sep 16, 1981||Bandon, OR|
As of this writing, a phenomenal number of curlews
been seen along the Pacific Coast this spring. The first of these
was of a single bird on May 6 South of Bandon, OR. On May 8, 2 birds
seen at Ocean Shores, WA. Then Saturday, May 9, 2 birds were found at
South Jetty of the Columbia River (SJCR). These two were still being
May 14. A single bird was found north of Ocean Shores on May 12 and
the next day. And finally a single bird was seen at Newport, OR on May
13. By the second week of the GREAT CURLEW FALLOUT bird were
in California at Crescent City and Point Reyes. These are the first
ever for that state. Something curious is going on.
No, really, the warm waters in the Pacific brought on by El Nino have created a weird flow of air, pushing east through the central Pacific right at the South Coast of Oregon. This is a fairly typical El Nino phenomenon. Pacific Golden-plover, a regular fall migrant rarely seen in the spring along the Pacific Coast, has been seen in unusually high numbers this spring. It has a very similar spring route over the Pacific Ocean. We believe the air flow pattern is driving these birds on to the coast. Westerly winds over the last week are keeping them grounded. 5 of the 7 records previous to this year were in El Nino years...
Below are links to the NOAA GOES9 weather satellite images for the week leading up to the arrival of the first birds seen on the New River. A very large cyclonic event effectively sat for a week off the Oregon Coast drawing air from Hawaii. This was followed by a rapid change to westerly/northwesterly flow. In a "normal" spring, we would expect these low pressure events to be much farther north, and the air flow to be more or less southerly. It's very probable that Bristle-thighed Curlews also expect them farther north.
Jack Bowling elaborates.
Steven Feldstein of the of Pennsylvania State University on the weather
The speculation for possible first arrival is based upon a report of "funny looking Whimbrels" seen on May 6. This corresponds with the arrival of the New River birds seen further south and it is not unreasonable to extrapolate simultaneous landfalls.
Paulson, Dennis. 1993. Shorebirds of the
Washington Press, Seattle.
Schmidt, Owen (ed.). 1989. Rare Birds of Oregon.
Oregon Field Ornithologists