Sunday, April 17, 2011

The calm before the storm

I actually haven't posted in a while. The main reason being that I now have another part time job (helping out at Pelee Wings Nature Store until they hire a student) and the other reason is that there isn't really anything exciting to post about. -- Here we are in mid April, but the birding seems....well...pretty slow. I have had some interesting species including a Red-necked Grebe back on March 31st, a Hairy Woodpecker last week (which is in fact rare at Point Pelee) and others have located a Loggerhead Shrike, King Eider and Eared Grebe during this month, but there hasn't been anything really exciting in the area. I mean check out what has been spotted nearby: White Wagtail (Michigan) WOAH!!, "Audubon's" Yellow-rumped Warbler (Michigan), Bullock's Oriole (Ohio) Not that I am all about chasing rarites. Of course, I like seeing rarites, (who doesn't?!) but holy crap mother nature, give us a break so we can at least get a wave of migrants already! As I am typing this on April 18th, it is in fact lightly snowing outside! This month we have been plagued with north winds, northwest winds, and the dreaded and exceptionally damp northeast winds! Walking in Point Pelee wearing layers, feeling damp to the skin looking at kinglets, Brown Creepers, a scattering of Yellow-rumped Warblers, and the odd Blue-grey Gnatcatcher and Black-throated Green Warbler leaves me a little disgruntled. "Oh wow, the Dutchman's Breeches and Bloodroot are finally starting to bloom....2 weeks later than usual...OH SPRING WHERE ART THOU!?" -- Eventually, the weather will change as more birders start arriving here in Pelee over the next couple of weeks. It will begin with those arriving the last week of April. In the past, late April birding has been exceptional in Pelee! Unless the weather changes, I think late April will be a dissapointing one for those who booked their vacation early, and we will be plagued with the "more birders than birds" syndrome on the trails. Perhaps this will be a spring when the main migration arrives the long weekend in May, when most tourists are gone and us local birders and a scattering of others witness the full splendor of the migration, with the trails devoid of people who already left thinking that Point Pelee is not as great as everyone and the literature says it is. After living and birding here for 19 years I have witnessed both these extremes: the late April main migration, the late May main migration, and the mid-May migration (the time period that the literature states is best) being mediocre. -- Of course, it is all up to mother nature that dictates when we will see the peak of migration. With a light snow falling, it is the calm before the storm of spring migration in Point Pelee, of both birds and birders all congregating together in a reunion of survival.

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