Tuesday 20 March 2012

Random FOTD

FOTD = Fact Of The Day

A polynya is a body of open water surrounded by sea ice.

Every winter Eiders that overwinter in the arctic make polynyas. At these polynyas they dive under the water to catch mussels. While they are under water they naturally exhale, the exhaled air rises and some of it is trapped under sea ice. This creates bubbles, and where the ice is thin and flexible the air forces the ice upwards into shallow domes. As more and more Eiders frequent the area the dome gradually becomes larger such that the birds can go into the airspace. Some of these domes can become large enough for scores of bird to seek shelter!

The Innu word for this is "Pillait".

Something I would love the BBC to film!

-actually, I think the polynyas fact applies more to Common Eiders and Spectacled Eiders.

This King Eider was 1 of 3 in Toronto this time last year. Imagine if it was there this year, in 26 degrees!

FOTD #2:

Crossbill story from Newfoundland (1988):
"The big finch story involved the White-winged Crossbill. Simultaneously they began appearing in New Brunswick and w. Newfoundland during the last third of June. Throughout July they were "just everywhere, singing so loudly that it was almost impossible to hear anything else!" Only adults were seen, and females began disappearing in late July, presumedly to sit on nests. The birth of an invasion. All of Atlantic Canada experienced an exceedingly heavy crop of cones on the white spruce and balsam fir, which probably triggered the intensive singing and breeding, but how did they find out about it and where did they come from? The arrival en masse over such a broad front was as if they had all read about the cone crop in the newspaper."


That's it for now, haven't been doing much birding lately. Except for another pelagic coming up on Saturday my birding in Singapore over the next 1.5 months is going to be limited.
Going back to Canada is becoming more and more appealing after my mother found a male Black-backed Woodpecker in NL (I still have never seen this species...) and some taunting about a Wigeon of some sort in Ontario ;)