Gusty Winds and Rough Waters

I woke to some blue sky overhead this morning, and a little later the sun was high enough to shine. Not long after (and before I actually got up), clouds once again filled out my view. It remained cloudy except for a brief spot of sun this evening.

I could hear the effect of gusting winds, and as the morning went on, the wind increased in strength. The forecast called for gusts to 40mph, but peak gusts were over 50mph in each of the hourly reports from just before noon to just before 3pm.

The buoy data is back online, and conditions were fierce. The peak reported wave height was shortly before 11am, when it was 33.5ft. It’s often a little difficult to judge the scale, but the photosets from buoy this morning looked intense. The collage above is from just before 10am.


I was interested to note that today was equilux (a term I learned, or maybe relearned today – meaning 12 hours between sunrise and sunset).

We’ll be gaining another handful of hours of daylight per day over the next three months, with half of it coming over the next month.

After lunch I went for a drive to check out the wind and water.

There were a few gulls in the channel, but numbers were much reduced from recent days. I’m not sure if they headed out to play in the wind (or find more sheltered locations), or if there were no deliveries coming in, and with no food to keep them there, they spread out a bit more.

Swan Lake had no ice at the lower end. The wind was blowing up the lake, and ice was getting pushed pushed towards the upper end. It had started to break up. It’s supposed to be sunny tomorrow, so depending on what time the clouds break up, there may be a chance for a little refreezing to happen. Regardless, I think we will soon see the last of the ice for the season.

Ocean conditions were very sloppy beyond the breakwater at the north end of the channel. I stopped at Sandy Beach and the kelp patch turnout and watched for a bit at each place.

I was a little surprised to see gulls flying by, mostly flying up wind. From my ground-based perspective, it’s easy to imagine that it could be fun to fly in such conditions when you are as adept at flying as the birds are. I suspect it would be terrifying in a small plane, however.

At the kelp patch turnout there was a sea otter working away at eating not far off the shore, despite the rough conditions. I wonder if there are conditions that get to be too much for the sea otters. With a home range that includes the Aleutian Islands, they are no doubt well adapted to weathering storms. Perhaps there isn’t anything that’s too much, or perhaps they can find some relative shelter on the lee side of islands, if they really need to.

I almost stepped out to chase some light, but in the end was glad I didn’t hurry, as the heavy clouds filled in and graupel was falling within minutes.

The Brambling turned up at KJ’s feeding station today. It hadn’t been reported in several days, and my last trips to Lazaria Drive were pretty light on the juncos. I wondered if it was still around, or if it begun migrating. I also wonder about the Solitaire, which hasn’t been reported since it was last in my yard.

My iNaturalist Observations for Today

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