Bufflehead Arrivals 2015-16

submitted by KJ Finley
The latest phenological chart of autumn arrivals shows that the second wave was highest in magnitude, peaking on November 17th, concommitant with a spell of warm weather on the prairies, when the farmers were able to salvage a bit more of their crops, after an early snowfall. This “signature” contrasts sharply with last year’s early “El Nino” peak. Since my data were not plugged into a current meteorlogical model, I did not attempt to forecast this amplitude shift.
Winter has returned to Palliser’s Triangle with a broad dusting of snow along the hypotenuse, bringing welcome cover, and an isotopic  signature of its North Pacific origins.
Yesterday’s EOSDIS imagery reveals the trajectory of the jet stream and the cloud cover that defines the Triangle, with its artificial base on the 49th parallel. The northern wall of Trumplandia.
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The last clear image of Big Quill Lake, site of the Great Bufflehead Crash of Nov 4th 1940, was on November 18th, which shows it giving off vapour in “cloud streets” that follow the trajectory of the crash.
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From 1956 to 1991, when freeze-up observations were made at Big Quill Lake, the end of freeze-up averaged November 13th. With satellite records over the past five years, freeze-up has averaged November 24th (i.e. starting now).
2016
The Buffleheads have settled in for winter.

“All Buffleheads Day”

by Stephanie Weinstein (of Naturekids)

On October 15th, six brave families– including 10 hardy children–came out to celebrate All Buffleheads Day at Roberts Bay in the Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Sidney, despite severe storm warnings and driving rain.  The VNHS Saturday bird-watching group spotted some of our most punctual migrants (aka Buffleheads) that morning and were present with scopes to help the children learn about these and other birds in the bay. Friends of Shoal Harbour and other partners, including Habitat Acquisition Trust, Peninsula Streams Society, and SeaChange Marine Conservation Society had interactive displays, games, and even some street theater for the participants. A big thanks to these organizations and to NatureHood, a program of Nature Canada, for supporting the participation of NatureKids Victoria in the event!

 

naturekids

Cast of “Big Bill’s Birdie Book and Binocular Bazzar”