Friday, November 5, 2010

Hippy Dippy Weatherman

The one that gets a red flag:  The Whitetail does rut (their first estrus or in-heat) peaks by mid-month.  For male deer this is a time for them to run crazy through the country side seeking "female companionship."  For humans this only means one thing - deer vs. vehicle collisions peak (in 2008 there were 24,212 vehicle/deer accidents and two human fatalities.)
Massachusetts Car Accident  Picture of a deer vs. vehicle windshield taken from the net.

Other animal love life:  River otters breed and the great-horned and barred owls court.

Moving on:  Crow migration peaks, Bluebills should be migrating as I'm writing, Canvasback and Mallard migration peaks, and the Lesser Scaup migration occurs.  I've been hearing the honking of large flocks of geese almost daily.  Quail form coveys in preparation to finding winter cover. 

Most doves are en-route to winter areas along the Gulf Coast, but, I always have several that tough out winter in our woods and visit our feeder when it really gets nasty.  Doves prefer to feed on the ground or our seed catch all under the feeder.  This photo shows them picking away at stale cereal and popcorn after one particularly nasty overnight storm - note the ice on their feathers and beak.

Moving in:  Winter birds, such as juncos, tree sparrows, and purple finches, start arriving this month.  If you fill your bird feeders with sunflower seeds, they'll find it almost immediately.  All three are active and entertaining birds and provide hours of "bird watching" enjoyment outside my computer room window.

Dipping a pole in the water:  Sauger/walleye are good in rivers this month. 

Turkey talk:  Turkey flocks split up and the males group up into "jake flocks".    I saw an unusually large number of turkey this summer in most every location we ventured.  I'm guessing the price of Thanksgiving turkeys will be reasonable - noticed about $0.89 per pound at our local grocery.

Weather talk:  Average snowfall for November is three inches, although in 1974 we received 15.6 inches.  Now that would wake you up to winter!  Record low temperature was in 1977 with minus two and in 1891 at a nasty minus ten degrees - burr farbs!  Record high temperature was in 1950 at a nice 81 degrees.  Average low is 25-37 degrees - average high 41-57 degrees.  The 1970s were more unpredictable than a hippie at a Pink Floyd concert!  

(Remember the "Hippie Dippy Weatherman"?  Most famous line:  "Tonight's forecast: Dark. Continued dark throughout most of the evening, with some widely scattered light towards morning.")
Go to fullsize imageGeorge Carlin performing a Hippie Dippy routine - taken from web.

Hippie Dippy might be a good term when looking at November weather:  The Midwest weather is trying to settle into winter but takes some extreme ups and downs along the way.  Those of us who actually enjoy winter, are grumbling about why it's taking so long for a good deep snow.  Those of you who really would be more happy in Arizona, start your major grumbling every time the temperature dips below fifty degrees. 

I really don't know what people do who live in areas where the weather seldom gets extreme.  What do they talk about when they see neighbors?  What would be the point of standing and looking at the sky if you're not waiting for that predicted weather change?  Aren't they deprived of the child-like excitement at the beginning of a really good snow storm?  They miss the satisfaction that comes from laying-in, hunkering down, preparing for, and complaining about winter!  Four good months of winter weather - bring 'er on!

A lot of the animal information is thanks to former Peoria Journal Star sports writer, Jeff Lampe.
Much of the record weather data was thanks to Anthony Peoples' BLOG at WQAD.   

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