Thursday, April 5, 2012
Bergs and Pack Ice
These large ice floes often transport arctic wildlife to our shores. Within the last week, two polar bears have landed and posed danger in small communities in Newfoundland. In one case, the bear broke through a patio door of a home and appeared in the kitchen before it was driven away. Along with pack ice and polar bears, come many warnings for people to survive these natural encounters. One: Stay off the ice as it can break apart and drift quickly out to sea; and two: Don't look the bear in the eye, move away by backing away, don't run, and the list goes on and on.
www.icebergfinder.com is reporting five bergs from Biscayan Bay to Maddox Cove. This pictures that I have included here are of a small berg in Maddox Cove. Shot from three angles, this berg looks different from every perspective.
Many years ago, I recall attending a conference in St. John's in June and ice bergs surrounded the area. Does this early arrival mean that we won't have any later? Who knows? It is almost always a wait-and-see situation when it comes to nature.
How is all of this affecting the birds? Well, it seems that the sea birds are coming closer to shore to enjoy the open waters inside the pack ice. Hopefully, this will create more opportunities to get better looks at birds typically seen from afar. At the moment there is a large flock of Long-tailed Ducks sitting off the point at Cape Spear and plenty of Black Guillemots, but I am still awaiting the arrival of a large flock of eider. One flock of Common Eider (with one King Eider) was reported more than a week ago, but it didn't stay very long. Clearly, there is an increase in movement and variety of sea birds flitting both north and south. It is all about being in the right place and the right time to see them.