Thursday, April 9, 2015

A River Update: Fog and Ice

Today was very balmy with the strong SW wind.  A massive weather system has swooped up from the southern States in the last little while.  It will be interesting to see what it brings in the way of birds.  Heavy rain tonight and tomorrow though.

By later this afternoon, all the local waterbodies were fogged over!  I was going to do some looking around but one could not see anything around the waterways.  Obviously the warm air meeting the very cold water created lots of fog and mist.

Stewart Wetland late this aft
I have not seen any shorebirds yet even though I have been keeping an eye out for them at places like Stewart Wetland.  They are a bit late.

Yesterday lots of ice was moving down the St. Clair River, especially on the Michigan side. It was not there first thing in the morning, but by noon it was quite evident.

James L. Kuber yesterday at noon

Not many birds have shown up, but in the last couple of days I have seen the first Barn Swallows and a Forster's Tern around these parts.  No Purple Martin yet!  Some are pretty much on schedule.
Last year I saw the first Forster's Tern on April 7, and it was the same this year.  Average is about April 10 at Port Lambton.

I was looking at photos from the past and was reminded of the spring of 1984.  The winter had been snowier and colder than normal, and ice lingered  to the end of April.
In mid April of 1984 (Friday the 13th to be exact), there was a massive ice jam on the St. Clair River.  Ships were stuck all over the place!

April 13, 1984 Port Lambton
The flow of the river was curtailed quite a bit and the water level dropped considerably.

April 13 seemed to be the worst day, especially around Port Lambton.  There were 13 ships stuck in the ice from the north end of Walpole Island to Sombra.  I took some photos.

April 15

The power of the ice was rather incredible.  Ships were being pushed around and bumping into each other.  It was interesting listening on the scanner.  I recall the old Kinsman Independent could not hold her position.  She had both bow anchors down and engines full ahead and was still being pushed downriver by the ice!
The Murray Bay was pushed out of the channel and grounded at the north end of Algonac, Michigan. I have a photo of it and you can see the list of the ship.

Ice was still being seen until the first of May that year as I recall.

On to another weekend....(not as warm as I would like!).

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