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Thread subject: Stormy, Stormy Day...
Name Date Message
Marie 11/04/05 12:55 am Victoria seemed to take the brunt of a wild south easterly wind/rain storm today. It had started very early this morning while it was still dark and continued much of the day. Gusts of wind were recorded at 70-90 km. From my place of work at the hospital, I could see the leaves flying furiously and branches bending to breaking point. Tree limbs were even falling across parked cars on the street. One large leafy branch barely missed a wind buffeted cyclist. Several big trees came down across the golf course that I frequent when watching the eagles at their nest site. Other trees brought down hydro transformers as they toppled over. I know this is nothing in comparison to Katrina or Wilma or any of the other hurricanes experienced in the Gulf, but this was little ol' Victoria getting a beating. This garden city was under siege.
On my drive home I saw the extent of the storm and the damage to the sail and power boats in my supposedly tranquil bay out front. Several sail boats had slipped their moorings and had been piled up on the rocks. Two power boats had mostly sunk in the rather high tide. I was surprised at the damage to the boats. So must be the owners of these vessels. The sky was full of heavy dark clouds that rushed across the heavens. The choppy water before me was a steely grey. The whole scene was far from tranquil. I stood there looking at the dramatic change. Rafts of Buffleheads, Red breasted Mergansers, Mallards and Wigeon were bobbing between the swells. A beautiful Barrow's Golden eye caught my attention for this was the first one back, that I had seen from its summer grounds. It had return to the bay and waterfront for its wintering sojourn. Following these kind of storms unusual birds that have been blown off course put down to rest. Birder's will often scout out the waterfront the following day and find some real surprises.
Meanwhile, down at Willows Beach, I expected to find my eagles nest reduced to a pile of sticks on the rocks. I arrived at the beach expecting the worst but was thrilled to see the familiar shape of the eagle's nest riding out the storm. The nest tree, an Elm, had lost most of its lovely golden leaves in the winds. Surprisingly, the nest didn't appear any different in size or shape, despite the gale. Although the young eaglets had fallen to their deaths earlier in May this year, when the front of the nest had been dislodged by severe winds, the integrity of the remainder of the nest appeared sound. The question that came to mind now as I observed the nest was,
had this eagle pair built the nest in such a way that it could withstand the usual prevailing winds that came across the water? Also, were the eagles unable to anticipated the winds that blew last May from a different direction. Indirectly, could climate changes have caused the eaglets demise?
Celeste 11/04/05 05:15 am It never occurred to me that heavy winds, would bring opportunities to see "different" birds. One positive of bad weather. I also wonder how all these climate changes are affecting native birds and migration. Regarding your eagles, If these changes in climate continue, will that "teach" the birds to change their ways of nest building over time?
karen 11/04/05 08:40 am Marie quite a storm you had ... it does seem like this year has produced some extreme weather in most parts of the country. We lost over 10 feet of dunes in October to storms out on the east end of the island.

The Fire Island Hawk count is seeing some big changes in this years count so far but not sure if this is from the storms that LI experienced in October or some other environmental changes: here is their website

Certain birds clearly demonstrate the enviromental changes affect the populations and some seem to thrive ( house sparrows herring gulls and double crested comorants are all booming populations here on LI )
Celeste 11/04/05 09:20 am Thanks Karen, I was at Fire Island yesterday, and saw a couple of people "watching" from the stand. It was extremely blustery there yesterday, and I was shocked to see how much erosion there was on the beach adjacent to the boardwalk to the Lighthouse. I saw many flying comorants and of course gulls...It was so windy that even the deer seem to be hiding!
Marie 11/04/05 09:29 am Thank you Karen...most interesting website. Love the graphs with the peak times to see the Raptors in your area. There's a good opportunity for you Celeste to learn your Raptors at Fire Island while counting them in almost your own back yard. I guess weather really does impact the shores of our favorite beaches.
Cecilia 11/04/05 04:46 pm Sounds like nor'easters that come slamming into and sit over Long Island. Yes, we sure are having violent weather all over the world...Global warming? Cyclical weather patterns? Disappearing ozone? It's all scary!

I wonder if the eagles will come back with any "memory" (instinct?) of what happened this year and rebuild the nest accordingly? The great thing about this site is that you'll be there next year to watch and keep us in the loop.

And Karen...thanks for the Fire Island Raptor Enumerators
link. As Celeste always says, "So many birds, so little time" :-)

Anne 11/04/05 06:09 pm We are having unusually warm weather in the UK with strong southerly winds. All the 'twitchers' are very excited because the winds are bringing your chimney swifts to our shores. Somehow they have got swept out into the Atlantic on migration and the southerlies have brought them here. Because swifts stay airborne for most of their lives they have managed to stay alive on their long journeys, but I wonder how many other small passerines have been swept up and deposited into the sea.

Marie 11/05/05 12:09 pm It is amazing to see these VAGRANTS arrive in areas that they shouldn't be.
Winds do bring interesting birds. Haven't heard yet if anyone found some interesting birds yet after our storm.

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Tom Throwe
Last modified: Sat Feb 18, 2006