Monday, December 17, 2012

Rare bird weather

For the first time in several weeks, we are getting some decent rare bird weather! Woot!  It sort of started late last week, but I didn't have much in the way of an internet connection, so the warning is delayed.

The good news is, the best of it should be this upcoming weekend and early next week, if all goes as planned...

This past weekend - early on Saturday 

The weekend (Sat/Sun) had a very cool low pressure system move through our area that was pretty strong yet messy. I didn't get a chance to check the maps, but it was a broad area of low pressure (quite large I'm guessing - not the storm, but the centre itself)... And there was a lot of wind feeding into Ontario from Lake Superior to Ottawa.

As you can tell from Ontbirds, there was a  healthy dose of good birds around as well!

Looking forward:

Tuesday - 1000mb-ish low passes near southern Ontario

Wednesday - new wearker 1010mb low passes over southern Ontario

Thursday and Friday - strong 990mb low passes over southern Ontario ! This is a very cool looking storm

Saturday and Sunday - the cold backside of the 990mb low gives us a strong dose of NW winds for the weekend...

Strong low on Friday - pulling apart over Ontario

Weather network currently says NW 45kmh for Saturday in Burlington:

And that goes pretty far north.. Check out Moosonee:

(North 20 on Friday, NW 25 on Saturday there) 

--- Given that an Ivory Gull showed up near Ottawa after a recent cold front, maybe we can cross our fingers for another on better weather!!!

And speaking of IVGU's, where did it come from?? MY guess is Hudson/James Bay of course !!! I noticed a trend in the OBRC database that there were several Ivory Gulls from Late December... 

Late December is also the time that Hudson and James Bay usually freezes over! Now Ivory Gulls don't need open water, but I still feel like there must be some sort of correlation between the sightings, along with a handful of other records like Puffin, Thick-billed Murre, Fulmar etc... And wouldn't you know it, James Bay is freezing over a bit earlier than normal this year:

Current Ice map - solid right to Labrador almost!

Would have been nice to get that IVGU, as I need it for Ontario and it's one of my all-time favourite bird species - but maybe it'll return (or maybe I can find one) 

(This picture looks so much better on my computer, that it isn't funny) 


  1. PTT-tagged Ivory Gulls from the Canadian Arctic almost never (as far as I know) go any further south than around Southampton Island in Hudson Bay. They do stack up in and around Lancaster Sound and eventually move eastwards into Baffin Bay and Davis Strait. Some birds end up moving fairly far south, into the Labrador Sea, but this is typically in spring. Clearly vagrant birds do some crazy stuff (California, Florida, etc...) and there is nothing stopping a bird from heading due south and hopping from James Bay to the Great Lakes, but the fact that it was near Ottawa would seem to suggest that there is at least a possibility that it followed the St. Lawrence down. Who knows....

    1. Yeah I sure don't really know. My theory really only applies to the 1 in 250 Ivory Gulls (or 1 in 500 etc) that somehow make it to the Great Lakes around this time of year... I feel like I'll at least turn it into some sort of blog post eventually... Although I should probably always add the disclaimer that I'm just guessing!