||Observation (Click on links for photos)
||First chipmunk out and about. City of Green Bay
Fresh earthworm castings.
This site is bare soil along a sidewalk on UW-Green Bay so it warms
up faster than the general landscape. Fields nearby are still frozen,
although most areas in full sun are free of snow.
Red-winged Blackbirds return in flocks. We have had smaller numbers
of returning redwings for several days--the mild winter probably allowed
them to remain close. On the 26th hundreds of redwings returned to
my reference site, a large marsh along the East River which I have
observed since 1986.
||Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus
foetidus) has begun to flower! This is the only species in our
area (and one of very few anywhere) that can actually generate significant
heat -- sometimes melting the snow around the flower. The individuals
that grow in "springs" are the earliest because the soil doesn't freeze
there. Other individuals of this species that are not in springs may
not flower for another month or more. Skunk cabbage flowers produce
an odor that is similar to rotting meat, which attracts insects that
are looking for carrion. The insects become unwitting pollinators
of skunk cabbage when they come to investigate the odor.
||Warm weather continues, now aided by rain. Tom Erdman reports a
few Red-winged Blackbirds in Atkinson's Marsh. We have a few "feeder"
redwings in Green Bay, but they mostly stay near the feeders. The
snow is rapidly receding. Numerous phenological events will follow
quickly if the warmth continues, as it is predicted to do for the
next week or so. Don't be deceived, however, we almost always get
significant snowfall again after this first clearing of the winter
snow cover. Last year most of the winter snow cover was gone by February
11 when we reached a high temperature of 58! Welater had 1.5 inches
of snow February 24 and 3.4 inches on March 9.
||Cofrin Arboretum, Prairie Pond
An abrupt warming began with temps into the 40's. Robins, a few of
which remained in Green Bay all winter, are now appearing in greater
numbers suggesting that some birds are returning already. Large numbers
of Horned Larks have been noted in local fields, although they too
may remain in our area to some extent during winter. Skunks are emerging
and Cardinals and House Finches are notably vocal now.