Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Easing towards winter

The wind that has dominated here is finally easing. Yesterday was the most intense—45-55 mph winds for much of the day. I lost power at the cabin several times, each time briefly. I can’t drive up the driveway and down the lane without needing to stop at least once or twice to remove a branch too large or too gnarly to drive over.

More juncos have arrived, though still not huge numbers of them. That might well change in the next few days. Once this nor’easter clears, those little snowbirds may decide they’d better clear out of Canada and head south while the gettin’ is still good.. The Canadian robins have also arrived. When I was a youngster, these were called "woods robins." These birds are a bit larger and browner than the birds that summer here (and which left about a month ago). Down here the Canadian robins tend to stay in small flocks and often stay throughout the winter, especially if the winter tends to the mild side. They don’t hang out in fields and yards like the summer robins. They prefer woods and sometimes abandoned fields. We used to think that "woods robins" were simply summer birds that didn’t migrate, but over the years research has shown they are really Canadian robins who have migrated, and after a trip of 1000 miles or so, they have flown south.

In general, though, I see few of the forest’s animals in weather like this. They are as hunkered down as I am, waiting for the raging weather to abate. The snow that fell in the Poconos missed me. I was on the southwest edge of the storm and so got the worst of the wind instead.

It’s a bit early in the season to have what is essentially a winter storm of such strength. This year will be the first year in what seems like forever to me where there will be no El Nino or La Nina effect to warm the winter. That doesn’t hurt my feelings at all, though I reserve the right to change my tune if I’m snowed in for longer than a week.

8 comments:

Lynne said...

It seems odd to be hearing about winter storm warnings all ready. I'm just not ready to let go of fall. Another month of it would be fine by me.

Carolyn H said...

Lynne: I tried to find out exactly how long it's been since I've had a winter without an El Nino or La Nina effect. It's been at least since 2000 (though some of those years the effect was supposed to be on the mild side). So we might have quite a winter in front of us this year. I know I haven't seen a squirrel without a nut in its mouth for what seems like months!

Carolyn H.

kat said...

I wish your early winter weather would blow our way, although I'm happily anticipating some rain this weekend (I'm hoping, this time, the weather reports are right)! Beautiful post, as always Carolyn.

Deb said...

I had never heard about Canadian robins, but that's probably what I've been seeing and hearing in my woods.

I'm with Lynne; another month of fall would be perfect!

Ruth said...

We were slam dunked by winter the last two days...high winds and snow. Hopefully fall will return shortly. There still are a few brave Canadian robins here.

Cathy said...

Oh yes snow did fall in the Poconos. Such "fun" too! It caught everybody off guard. They are still fixing power lines and still clearing off roads today. Lucky for me, I didn't have to work today.

Seabrooke said...

No one thought to simply ask to see their passport? Pretty neat that you can actually visually tell them apart from your resident population.

Last winter up here sure didn't seem like an El Nino, most areas had record snowfall, a bit of a shock for people especially compared to the year before that was unusually mild for half of it. I guess it's one of those things we can expect to see with ongoing climate change - huge shifts in seasonal conditions from one year to the next.

Carolyn H said...

Seabrooke: last winter here was pretty tame, especially in its length. It was as though winter didn't get going at all until January, and most of the rest of the winter was dry--no precipitation of any kind. Globa warming sucks. Winter is short enough.