A stiff northerly breeze with gusts above 30 mph roughed up the land and the water on the last day of 2018. The North Basin cove, calm and glassy the day before, now crawled with whitecaps. Coots, almost the only birds on the water, got flipped into the air as waves broke under them. Gulls, expert fliers, performed aerobatics without beating a wing. The east-side Burrowing Owl, risen only yesterday into the sun from its hiding place in the rip-rap, found that its basking spot also served perfectly as a storm shelter. The north-side owl was not to be seen; had it tried to perch in its usual spot at the water’s edge, it would have been blown away.
If there are still birds up north considering migration, this wind was a godsend. Just fly up in the air and let the tailwind carry you. Piece of cake.