Spring migration has begun! Or has it?!

It is now mid-April, a time when eager birdwatchers scan the sky, dust off their binoculars, and wait (often impatiently) for the return of the beloved migrants. It is also the time when the Cabot Head Research Station gets opened for a new season of monitoring.

Alas, as I am writing these lines, I am gazing at a white landscape, deeply blanketed in snow, following a brutal and intense three-day storm. A winter storm! A snow storm! In mid-April! Here, on the Bruce Peninsula, there was no rain, there was no freezing rain (thankfully): it was big, fluffy snowflakes that fell with nary a pause for 72 hours, piling up on an already thick blanket of snow on the ground.

As you may suspect, then, I am not writing these lines in the beloved (though surely freezing) Cabot Head Research Station but in a warm house on Miller Lake. The dirt road winding its way to the banding station still had too much snow last Friday, April 13, when we went to check it. There were bare patches to be sure, but the snow-covered sections were too long and too deep. And that was before the storm…

So, we find ourselves once more at the mercy of the weather; hoping, wishing, longing for warmer days, for strong sun, for clear skies. We will, we will get to Cabot Head! But for now, we are flexing our patience muscle, while constantly checking the ever-changing weather forecast!

Given that hope dies last, I (want to) believe that I will be able to move into Cabot Head before the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory (BPBO) Annual General Meeting on Saturday, April 21. We shall see!

In the meantime, I do not think that we are missing much, in terms of bird migration. The Sandhill Cranes, the Tree Swallows, the Eastern Bluebirds seen last week have most likely departed South in a temporary reverse migration to escape the wrath of the weather gods.

I wish that I was reporting the return of the Yellow-rumped Warbler, or the singing of the Eastern Phoebe, or the Bald Eagles sitting proudly on their nest for this first entry of the 2018 Spring blog. With a little help from the sun, perhaps that will be the case for the second blog posting!

Please, attend the Annual General Meeting, if you can. Members and non-members are all welcome! See more information at: www.bpbo.ca


PS: After writing the blog, in late afternoon of April 16, a single male Yellow-rumped Warbler appeared on the deck of the house ! And we saw it again on April 17, as snow keeps on falling from leaden skies.

4 comments on “Spring migration has begun! Or has it?!
  1. Dave Buckton says:

    What a lovely blog! I so love Cabot Head and The Bruce (my cottage is just south of Dorcas Bay). It was only just last year that I discovered your bird banding location. Many times in the spring I have wandered along the path from the lighthouse to Wingfield Basin checking out the migrating avian and getting some great photos…. Always thought the building across the channel was a private residence – are visitors permitted to stop in and say hello? I look forward to your next blog… Best Wishes Stephane – Dave

    • Anne says:

      Dave; The station is not open to the public during the migration seasons, however, we have an open house in early Sept. that we encourage all curious enthusiasts to attend. Information is posted on our website in early August. Also, if you become a member of BPBO you can arrange a visit with Stephane, our station scientist.

  2. Tim Chamberlain says:

    Wow! Sounds like a snowy landscape indeed. We have had a harder and whiter winter than many previous years but at least now Spring has definitely sprung. May the weather gods be with you!

  3. Mary Houston says:

    You captured exactly how I feel!

    Enjoyed your first blog and looking forward to more!


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