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.
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.
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).
The Buffleheads have settled in for winter.

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