Brief whisps of snow one morning in the middle of a week that was bookended by otherwise unseasonably warm weather. 64 after Veterans Day?
“Let me tell you about winds,” says Almasy. This week was all about wind.
The wind was raw, indeed; so here are the raw facts: Wind is air moving from an area higher pressure into one of lower pressure. High pressure is colder air that is denser—so gravity pulls it down. When that air hits the ground, it spreads out like syrup on a pancake. It pushes aloft any warmer air that it encounters in its path, which is how the low pressure is created. Add to that the fact that the Earth is spinning underneath all of these aerial goings-on. This produces the Coriolis Effect, which causes winds to circulate counterclockwise around lows, in the Northern Hemisphere. So what makes wind the stimulus for so many writers to comment upon?
Aldo Leopold opens his “November” imagining what it would be like to be the wind. This was on my mind as I wandered the eastern part of the Arboretum.
Wind moving through the trees makes it harder for the deer to see the things that prey upon them, human or otherwise. So they hunker down during windy times which slowed the hunting success during this first week of the season.
On Green Heron Pond, a flotilla of green wing teal was fueling up in the clam areas before heading on with a few ubiquitous mallards mixed in. Juncos, so easily identified by those flashes of white from the coverlets along the edges of their tails have been around for a bit, “snowbirds,” they grace us with their presence for the winter and will be gone north before next summer.
Chickadees and woodpeckers and squirrels, the “usual suspects” of our winter wildlife were all over the place despite the wind.
There’s a striking dichotomy between the subtlety of the muted fall colors and the complete “in-your-face “nature of the wind this week. One has to look closely for the small pockets of color left as the last of the leaves are sent on their way by the gales of November. The dogwood of the swamp lends a tinge of burgundy to the otherwise sere landscape.
Boak Wiesner is a Minnesota Master Naturalist volunteer.