Tuesday, April 17, 2012


10am April 17th: Long range forecast for Leamington starting to pick up on an above-average spike for April 26th-28th... 

Not sure what I can say about that... Looking back at the historical OBRC records, there is a very steady and respectable string of vagrants found in the Apr 10-22th time frame... But in all honesty, there is a dramatic change around April 24th.... 

Apr 10th-22nd rarities that catch my eye:  Eurasian Jackdaw, Eurasian Blackbird (both questionable imho), Garganey, Brambling (Kenora).. With a scattering of the very very early vanguard of vagrants like Townsend's Warbler, Black-throated Gray... Yet at the same time, very few of these birds are from the major vagrant hotspots like Long Point/Pelee. 

April 24 to May 1: 

Sandwitch Tern, Burrowing Owl (recent Pelee Island), Neotropic Cormorant, Ash-throated Fly, Fork-tailed Fly, Black-capped Vireo, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Lesser Nighthawk, a few Hermit Warblers, Mottled Duck, Rock Wren.. 

Obviously if you were doing a big year *cough cough* there are rarities to be found, starting right now... But when I'm trying to complete all of my field work before dissapearing for the month of May, there is no chance I am going to miss a solid spike in weather in the April 26th-28th time frame...


I'm also having fun trying to piece together the weather patterns we've been experiencing this April, to what we can expect...

All I can say is "what a difference a year makes"... And honestly, that saying is used for every possible situation in life... But when it comes to weather, we experienced some of the heaviest rains and huge spinning low pressure systems day after day last year in April..

Here's two weather maps I saved from last year of epic storms:

Yet this year we've had a LOT of high pressure and VERY LITTLE rain... I guess most of Ontario got a good whack of rain over the weekend, but Point Pelee missed just about ALL of it... It is extremely dry, and we've reached a point where it is going to take significant rainfall to "break" the current dry spell...  Which pretty much means that even if we get a decent rain, the ground is so dry that it will soak it up and dry out again much faster than normal...... So we'd need a really heavy dose to fix things.

Here's a video from Pelee on the weekend with a huge dust cloud of soil being blown from the onion fields into Lake Ontario (this went on for hours, and is probably TERRIBLE for the soil):

Music and vocals thanks to a guest appearance by Ken Burrel 

So high pressure? Warm temperatures? Sounds 100% like overshoots to me... If the pattern holds (which is can very easily and quickly change), but I would expect generally slower birding (eg,/ less "drops" of migrants), but a very healthy dose of vagrants that use the excellent conditions to fly a few hundred km's further than they were expecting and land in Ontario...

El Nino like conditions exploded in the eastern pacific in Regions 1/2 this week to a massive 1.9C above average (equivalent to a strong el nino)

(the regions) 

The current numbers by regions (not sure what the huge blip in regions 1+2 this week mean for us in the long term )... 

And apparently neither do the global forecast models: 


But the best thing we can get from this is CRAZY weather usually isn't bad for birding..... 

the NAO (north atlantic oscillation)  is all over the map, but probably won't be too strong this spring.. So we can expect a healthy dose of warm and cold fronts (like we've had over the last 2 weeks, and are forecasted to see over the next 10 days):


Again, always good to add the disclaimer that I really know very little about weather.. It's just a fun outlet for my excitement as I get ready for the spectacular birding + rarities we are pretty much guaranteed to get over the next 5 weeks. 

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