As a Piedmont-bound avian enthusiast, I always hope for two things: hurricanes and droughts. This is backwards. This is wrong. This might make me a terrible person. But it's the truth. I have yet to experience real hurricane birding. Instead, I find myself salivating over the post-Fran and Ernesto lists from several years ago. I thought I would finally get my chance this year, as Arthur barreled toward the coast. But the bastard curved away, sparing the coast from damage but also sparing my list from a bird or two. I scoped the ocean for hours, and all I got was a shearwater sp.
|I thought this storm, Hurricane Arthur, would be my chance. It wasn't.|
|Wilson's Storm-Petrel is a bird I'd love to add to my Wake County list some day. But I can't in this perfect weather.|
Why has the weather been simultaneously great and terrible this year? I blame El Niño, the famed climatic event centered around the Eastern Pacific. This giant pool of hot water off the Peruvian coastline gives the Pacific jet stream a straight trajectory across the North American continent. This shears and pushes away any hurricanes trying to form in the Atlantic, and brings above-average rainfall to the southern half of the country. How annoying. It might make West Coast birding a little more exciting, but it certainly does nothing to help out North Carolina birders like me.
|Pacific Jet Stream under El Niño conditions.|