Stéphane’s Posting for Oct. 22/10

The Rain That Will Not Come

As a cold rain is falling hard on the Bruce Peninsula on this gray afternoon, it is a little ironic, don’t you think, to talk of the rain that will not come. It is, however, true that for the last 3 weeks, not a single morning of banding and migration monitoring has been hindered by rain! It is highly unusual for this time of year, autumn generally being a well-watered season… Even wind was on the gentler side, this fall, allowing us to open almost all the nets all the time, again hardly usual.

The forecast for next week is of rain or showers for everyday but I am dubious. Not to me, though, to easily deride the work of meteorologists: they have to monitor and model with immensely complex and complicated systems (complex being more complicated than complicated). It is – I believe – intellectual laziness and easy scapegoating (a new verb I just made up, meaning the action of turning someone into a scapegoat) to blame and mock meteorologists. On the opposite, and it is a personal opinion, of course (after all, I’m just blogging, here), I feel that not enough pressure is put on those “revered” economists who supposedly predict growth rates and investment markets and so on. They are very often very wrong, with often more dire consequences than being drenched by a sudden downpour while the umbrella was left at home.

But back to birds: there are still warblers around, with 2 Yellow-rumped Warblers seen today as well as a handful yesterday. There was also a Pine Warbler yesterday, which is slightly more surprising. These 2 species are hardy ones, who don’t go very far: the southern States are good enough for them, and they are the last ones to be seen in fall and the first to reappear in spring (in as little as 6 months from now!).

The Northern Shrike was seen again today, as we assumed it was the same than yesterday. The shoreline around the basin makes ideal hunting grounds for it, with shrubs and open habitats to chase birds and small rodents.