Change is the only constant!

On the first day of October, a very warm and very strong wind is blowing from the South, bringing unseasonably warm temperatures and keeping our nets furled. How often do I have to write “unseasonal” when it comes to weather before we are resigned to a new normal? Or should we be willing to resign ourselves? Many, many people who went out in the streets last week “striking for the climate” do not want to be resigned.

Regardless of what may come, migration as witnessed at Cabot Head this Fall, has been, and still is, slow. It is clear, though, that birds are migrating South, even if they are not detected in numbers at the station. Indeed, most of the long-distance migrants, like Flycatchers and Warblers, have now passed us on their journey. As always with nature, there are exceptions to the rule and a few warbler species are among the short-distance migrants, wintering as close as the southern USA: Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers are in that category, as well as Orange-crowned Warbler: we had the first individual of that latter species on September 30.

Coming into the scene now are the short-distance migrants, which include kinglets, sparrows, the migratory woodpeckers (Northern Flicker and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker). There has been a trickle of kinglets of both species in the last week, as well as White-crowned and White-throated sparrows, and Blue-headed Vireos (who have been mixing with the last of their Red-eyed cousins, who still have a long flight ahead of them, all the way to the Amazon basin) over the course of the last week.

On September 30, despite, or maybe because of, a strong East wind, there was an interesting passage over Georgian Bay: Loons, in ones or twos, were flying fast and low, heading East. Likewise, a few ducks were observed over the bay: seven White-winged Scoters in several small flocks, one lone Surf Scoter, and two Greater Scaups. And two separate Peregrine Falcons were easily fighting the wind, flying low over the water and heading toward the Peninsula, just like the adult Bald Eagle sometime later that same morning.

This is a time of change, moving further into Fall, still green but with more and more colourful leaves, shorter days, and, eventually, cooler temperatures.

Posted in STATION NOTES / BLOG
3 comments on “Change is the only constant!
  1. Don Rawls says:

    As noted in recent observations detailed here on your blog the bird count seems to have declined dramatically this year. Here at a normally very busy pair of feeders in our wooded hideaway near Desboro a little south of the peninsular our numbers have gone from dozens of visitors per day to just one occasional Downy Woodpecker, the change is both very obvious and quite alarming. In the 10 or 15 years of enjoying the daily variety of birds at these window feeders I do not recall such a reduction of numbers for such an extended period (now severely reduced for many weeks) before, whats happening?

  2. Edith says:

    Hello, I was walking on the Cabot Head road early this morning and came across what appeared to be a white snow goose, is this possible? It stood on the road not too far from myself and two doge and then took flights and had black tips on the wings.

    • Stephane Menu says:

      Hi,
      It is certainly possible: Snow Geese are seen from time to time on the Bruce Peninsula. It is quite odd to have seen one on the road but your description fits quite nicely for a Snow Goose.
      On Election Day, Monday October 21, on my drive to Wiarton, I observed an adult Snow Goose with two young in a field on the Ferndale Flats, among dozens of Canada Geese. Interestingly, the adult was of the white phase, whereas the young were of the blue phase. They were still there on the drive back North, along, this time, with a large flock of 78 Sandhill Cranes.

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