There is really no active weather on the way now-October 30. There is a weak clipper late tonight/tomorrow & Thursday night/Friday with a couple of spotty showers & that is it. There may be another clipper around the 29th. Next good potential of more widespread rainfall is either at end of Halloween or in early November, followed by the first widespread freeze of the year.
In terms of temperatures, above normal temperatures will dominate to the first of November. After 34 this morning, this week will feature highs largely in the 60s with a couple of days in the upper 50s to around 60.
Friday will begin very nice warm-up with 62-68 then. It is possible that we may reach 70 in parts of the area Saturday (66-71) & 68-75 in some next Sunday. Overnight lows will be cool (still a couple nights this week with patchy frost at 35-38, regardless of relatively mild days), but with sun & warmth, soils will dry nicely for area farmers.
Behavioral changes are evident in our bird life in response to shortening day length & approach of winter. Some species only seen in fall & winter are returning now.
I saw the first “snowbirds” today (Dark-eyed Juncos). They breed up north & migrate southward to winter in our area. You will find them scratching around your bird feeders, in leaf litter around your house to around your lawn & woodland edges in fall & winter. They like millet scattered on the ground at a feeder.
They have a distinctive of twittering call & expose the white on their tails when flushed.
This is the first time I have heard red-winged blackbirds in full call since July. It is the first time I have seen them congregate in flocks since spring. They do this as they make movements in the fall. Most of our head south, residing in massive flocks in the marshes & agricultural fields of the southern U.S.
I noticed about a dozen Pied-billed Grebes at the lake in our neighborhood today. This is a sign of the change to colder weather. They usually stay in marshes with abundant vegetation & are seldom seen in spring & summer. In the fall, they turn from the gray breeding plumage to more brown & tend to go to more open water areas & seem to congregate in pairs or groups of 3-5. These small groups may make up one of several groups on a lake.
I observed about 6-8 Ruddy Ducks (most of them were females) on our lake in the neighborhood today. Thing is Ruddy Duck do not breed here & don’t even winter here. Why were they here? They were passing through from their breeding grounds (prairie potholes of the Plains & mountain/basin lakes/ponds of the Rockies) to the marshes of the southern U.S.
The individuals that I saw today could have been from the Dakotas/Manitoba/Alberta on their way to the Carolinas or perhaps the oxbow lakes of the Ohio/Mississippi confluence.
I also spotted several buffleheads on the lake. They are largely a Canadian species where they next around ponds/lakes of northern spruce forests with aspen & birch from Alaska & the Yukon to Ontario & Quebec. They are only known to breed in the U.S. in northeast Minnesota, northeastern Washington & northern Idaho & in high-elevation lakes with fir & spruce in a few areas in the Rockies.
They winter in our area on ponds & lakes. I frequently see flocks at Celery Bog in fall & winter.
These are the first of the season.
Lesser Scaups were noted. I see these at the Bog & at our neighborhood lake in the fall. They do not spend winter here, but only a brief fall period on their migration from Canada, Alaska & the northern Rockies/northern Plains to the southern U.S., Mississippi Valley to Mexico & the Caribbean.
This bird is also found natively in Eurasia.