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.