contributed by Kerry Finley
That was an illuminating evening. I’m sure some residents around Roberts Bay wondered what the strange bobbings of lights on the water and the whoops and squeals of delight was all about, last night.
Earlier in the day Environment Canada had issued a weather warning with rain and strong winds . So the prospects of joining the UVIc Ocean Students Society to conduct seining surveys was looking dismal as I donned my chestwaders, and arrived at appointed meeting place at the Bufflehead Kiosk on Ardwell. The students pulled up exactly on time at eight, and in spite of invitations for volunteers, I realized that we were going to be all of three and I was going to have to pull my weight. Ricky, Erin and the old geezer of the bay.
Report in from Kerry Finley!
12 Nov 2015
“ This is the time of year when storms blow hard, winter gales and snow comes. Its a good time to be home. To be in your good houses and be nice, warm and comfortable with family and friends. This is when visiting would take place. There would be story telling and so on. You cannot travel anymore because this is a bad month.” Dave Elliot Sr. 1983.
The last influx of Buffleheads arrived on Tuesday the 10th, just in advance of the first significant Sou’easter ( winds presently gusting to 50 here, and 70 in Haro Strait). Typically there are two major influxes but this year is notable for having three, with well above average numbers. These waves correspond to the passage of weather systems guided by long-wave Rossby oscillations.
These waves follow certain frequencies and are amplified at this time of year, giving extreme weather events that keep forecasters and talking heads busy. It’s no coincidence that the major news stories and history follow a predictable pattern, as it did at this time in 1940, with the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge on Nov 7th and the disastrous Armistice Day Blizzard.
The record high first influx and considerable subsequent influxes indicates that the Buffleheads are responding to amplified signals associated with Rossby waves interacting with a strong El Nino.
The satellite images show the tremendous reach of this storm ( sometimes called comma cloud formation, or Big Orange Spiral). By random chance, I entered an address in Google Earth on Vancouver Island and connected it to a spot in the north Pacifc where the tail of this fast moving (heat-exchange) system begins. The distance is 5600 km, about 100 km wider than Canada.
Alex MacDonald (of Nature Canada), BC LG Judith Guichon and Bob Peart (FOSH and Nature Canada Director) at Parkland Secondary October 16, 2015
Firstly I apologize if I seem somewhat fuddled or rather more disorganized than normal this morning, but yesterday was a long day and seemed to have doubled the normal 24 hours somehow.
I am, however, delighted to be here to celebrate All Buffleheads Day. So this is where my Buffleheads spend the winter. Who knew? I should have tracked them down years ago. They certainly have the right idea. Meanwhile we stay back on the ranch and use their summer nesting ground to play hockey on.
All Buffleheads Day is a nationally recognized public event – wow! Yesterday, Day #298, while I was across the water at the Vancouver Maritime Museum awarding the 2015 SS BEAVER Awards, my Buffleheads were winging their way on the last leg, (or should I say wing) of their journey. When did they leave the ranch? They may have made better time than me! Once again the more we learn the less we know. How very amazing nature is!