biodiversity homepage      

Observations by Gary Fewless for Green Bay WI (Lat.N 44.51° Long. W 88.02° ), except as noted. For flowers lacking conspicuous petals or sepals I define "anthesis" as release of pollen by mature anthers.

March 2014
red-shouldered hawk

March 31

The ice will probably go out on the East River in Allouez today. There was considerable open water along the shore this morning. The average date is March 22. Last year it went off on April 4, and the latest since I began to keep notes in 1986 was April 11 in 1996.

Any way you look at it, this winter was long, deep and cold. In Green Bay, March temperatures were 7.9 degrees below "normal", following a February that was 12.3° below normal and a January that was 7.9° below normal and December that was 6.5° below normal. Precipitation in March was only about half of normal , but there was at least a trace of snow on 16 of 31 days.

Around the City of Green Bay there is a conspicuous "burning" of the horticultural Yews (mostly Taxus cuspidata) planted in yards due to the hard winter. Deer damage to trees and shrubs, always high in recent years, seems to me to be even higher this winter. Deer continue to eat species that they have traditionally avoided entirely, as the number of deer is high and the existing plants have already been browsed to the maximum. The most surprising of these new browsings to me are the red cedars (Juniperus virginiana), some of which have been stripped tight to the trunk to the height of a deer. While things may be better for some species now, there is still no new plant growth for the deer and their body fat is exhausted by the long winter.

March 30
Baird Creek There is meltwater in Baird Creek, but it is still short of the peak flow and there is still plenty of snow in the adjacent woods.

Sandhill Cranes in a cornfield in southern Oconto County (Tom Erdman).

Among many other solid phenology records, Tom Prestby reports first sightings of Turkey Vulture, Song Sparrow and Eastern Meadowlark today in Brown County.

March 29
deer on thin ice There were 13 deer together (so no mistake in counting the same one repeatedly) in the small urban habitat island near my home near the East River in Allouez, Brown County. The three deer in the photo illustrate that they are absolutely fearless in regard to walking on thin ice--notice the geese swimming a short distance to the right. Following their tracks over the years they frequently fall through the ice in spring, but in the last 29 years only one has died as a result, as far as we can tell.
Canada Goose Perhaps the geese are asking where the water is. It's about time for the ice to go on this pond in Allouez, Brown County, though last year it remained until April11.
  I found one plant of skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) in flower (pollen released), but it was in a strong flowing spring that keeps the soil from freezing. Many skunk cabbage plants will not flower for a couple of weeks, though the flowering structure (spathe) can be seen now if it is not covered by snow.
March 28
 

First Turkey Vultures, headed north, Oconto County, Pensaukee (Tom Erdman).

American Woodcock on UW-Green Bay campus (Tom Prestby).

  A little rain overnight and a dusting of snow and there are some slippery spots on local roads in Green Bay. There was enough snow farther north to cause more serious disruptions where up to 8 inches of snow fell in some parts of Door County and in Fish Creek school was cancelled yesterday due to the snow.
Baird Creek There is a little increase in flow of Baird Creek, but there is still plenty of ice and the ground is generally snow-covered.
March 27
  A little light snow after midnight, but a much warmer night with a morning low of 31° F in Green Bay. The Green Bay weather station reports about 3 inches of snow on the ground, but the snow depth is still about 21 inches in Laona, 80 miles NNW.
Mahon Creek Bridge over Mahon Creek on UW-Green Bay's Cofrin Arboretum.
March 26
frozen foam on Baird Creek There were interesting "towers" of frozen foam on Baird Creek this morning, as Green Bay's morning low temperature fell to 9° F. About 1 inch of snow in the evening, before midnight. Winter is still hanging on.
March 25
  Green Bay received 1.2 inches of snow last night (before midnight) and today's morning low was 11° F. There has been at least a trace of snow on 14 of the 24 March days to date. The monthly average temperature for March 2014 is 9° below "normal", following a February that was 12.3° below normal and a January that was 7.9° below normal and December that was 6.5° below normal.
Baird Creek Baird Creek is still mostly ice-covered, though there is now a narrow clear-flowing path in the middle.
Baird Creek Local areas of faster flow are more open.
March 24
UWGB Prairie Pond There is still general snow and ice cover in the Green Bay area, as here at Prairie Pond in UW-Green Bay's Cofrin Arboretum.
Green Bay ice-cover MODIS The satellite photo at left shows that the bay of Green Bay is still ice-covered also.
March 23
  Chipmunk out in yard, Oconto County, Pensaukee (Tom Erdman).
Chukkar Partridge Also spotted a couple of Chukkar Partridge, Oconto County, Pensaukee (Tom Erdman). They are not native to our part of the world, but are raised for hunting and may have escaped or been released intentionally.
March 22
Sandhill Cranes calling in Shawano County, Waukechon Township (Joel Whitehouse). Also Red-winged Blackbirds in Shawano County.  
March 20

Sandhill Cranes Oconto County, Pensaukee (Tom Erdman).

Double-crested Cormorant, Brown County (Tom Prestby).

March 18

Red-winged Blackbirds were singing and displaying along the East River (at least 15) as observed from the east end of Beaupre Street in Allouez, Brown County.  Sandhills Cranes were heard calling from the same point -- east of the East River. (Joan Berkopec). Also Red-winged Blackbirds on UW-Green Bay campus (Tom Prestby).

Northern Harrier Brown County (Tom Prestby).

 
March 17
First good flock of Red-winged Blackbirds and two Grackles showed up in southern Oconto County this morning. About 25 birds total (Tom Erdman).  
March 14
Green Bay's daily low temperature of 34° F delivers the first day that temperatures did not fall below freezing since Nov. 21 (113 days or about 16 weeks).  
March 13
 Baird Creek ice

The first substantial signs of spring at Baird Creek. The frozen foam has pushed up through the first small holes in the ice covering the creek.

First chipmunk of the season, in my backyard, Brown County, Suamico (Kathryn Corio).

Green Bay's morning low temperature was +4° F.

March 12
flooded ditch After just a few days of warmer temperatures the local ditches filled with water, now freezing as the overnight low fell to about +11° F and wind chills to about 0.
March 11
The daily high temperature in Green Bay will probably be 47° F, which was achieved shortly after midnight and fell to 35° by 7 a.m. (though the NOAA website daily report only lists the afternoon high of 44 as of March 12).  
March 10
 

The Green Bay high temperature of 53° F is our warmest temperature since November 17 (113 days). Snow depth was still 16 inches in the morning, but undoubtedly decreased a bit today.

deer One of the fawns of 2013 looks back to Mom for instructions, UWGB. These deer look fairly healthy compared to some I have seen and I suspect there will be a serious mortality this spring farther north where snow was deeper and winter was even longer.
March 9
Cedar Waxwing Cedar Waxwing

Thawing Wolf River Apples become a spring delicacy for Cedar Waxwings, Oconto County (Tom Erdman).

March 8 Some local media are reporting frozen pipes to 8 feet deep under streets(!!), though much less where the ground is snow covered.
March 6
snow Green Bay's low temperature of -16° F is day 54 of below zero temperatures, and if I read things correctly our 26 days below -10° F also breaks a record. Snow depth is 18 inches and we are now in third place for most days (49) with 10 or more inches of snow on the ground. Some places on Lake Winnebago reported 40+ inches of ice! Green Bay ice depths reported to 30+ inches.
Lake Michigan ice-cover Green Bay is totally ice-covered and Lake Michigan is almost fully ice-covered (95+%), the greatest coverage since 1979 (these records only go back to 1973). The Great lakes as a group are 91.8% ice-covered.
March 5 The day's low temperature was -11° F in Green Bay, after 11:00 p.m. in the evening--making this day 53 of below zero temperatures.
March 4
Mahon Creek Still plenty of snow on the ground in Green Bay area, as here on UW-Green Bay's Cofrin Arboretum, and several more inches today. With so much snow so widely and so late, we could see extensive flooding if the weather turns warm quickly. The Green Bay area has had a lot of development in recent years and it is not yet clear what impact that might have on the volume and rate of runoff in a very wet spring.
March 3
  Green Bay's morning low temperature of -24° F is the lowest of the season, and breaks the record for this date which was previously -10°!! And the high temperature of 11° broke the record for lowest high temperature for the date (previously 12°). Green Bay has now had 51 days reaching below zero this winter. Snow depth is 17 inches.
Baird Creek Baird Creek appears to be a snow-covered road.
deer Hungry deer check out a farmer corn supply, Oconto County (Tom Erdman).

 

March 2
red-shouldered hawk red-shouldered hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk eating suet at a feeder (Tom Erdman). Another example of unusual behavior as a result of the prolonged and severe cold weather.

© 2001-2004 The Cofrin Center for Biodiversity and the University of Wisconsin Green Bay, All Rights Reserved
Last updated on August 7, 2014