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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 2002

water strider.

Observations by Gary Fewless, except as noted


(Observations by Gary Fewless unless otherwise noted)


First day for Water Striders on Mahon Creek, UWGB.

This is the first day I have seen Crocuses (Crocus sp.) in flower in City GB. These plants were well away from any buildings so there were probably other plants in flower a little earlier where located immediately against the south side of buildings.


First day of flowering (i.e. pollen is being released) for Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum) in Green Bay.

Scarlet cup fungus (Sarcoscypha coccinea) reported in Manitowoc County (Joel Trick). It typically appears very early in the spring and the bright red color makes it easy to spot .

Common Snipe, Fond du Lac County (Andy Paulios).

Tree Swallows, Eastern Phoebe, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Common Loon, Portage County, Stevens Point (wisbirdnet).


11 Pintails, Point Sauble, Brown County; Several Woodcock on UWGB's Cofrin Arboretum last night (Rusty Japuntich).

Two Black Crowned Night Herons at Voyager Park, Green Bay (wisbirdnet). It is not clear to me whether these birds actually left last winter (GF).

Eastern Meadowlark singing, Elton in Langlade County (Steve Janke).

Turkey Vulture, Navarino area, Shawano Co. (wisbirdnet)

3 Eastern Bluebirds, Cooperstown, Manitowoc County (Joel Trick).

Honey Bee and Killdeer UWGB (Tom Erdman)

Killdeer, Shawano (Joel Whitehouse).


Heavy, wet snow from about 9:00-10:30 a.m. on the east side of Green Bay, turning to cold rain, clearing and mild later.

The East river in Allouez (Brown Co) was essentially ice-free by the end of the day, yesterday.

Two Common Loons reported back at Geneva Lake in Walworth County; four Common Loons reported in Washington County at Pike Lake ); one Common Loon at Patrick Marsh in Sun
Prairie (wisbirdnet).

Chipping sparrow trilling, Madison; Bluebird near Cherokee Marsh (wisbirdnet).


First report of an Eastern Chipmunk in the City of GB (Amy Wolf), although there was a report on March 16 from Shawano Co. It's not unusual for two early spring events that might have occurred within a couple of days of one another to be separated by a week or two if the weather turns cold at just the right time to delay the second event.

Chorus Frogs calling, Gibbs Lake, Rock County (Andy Paulios).

A single Turkey Vulture seen near Milwaukee on the 23rd and another near Madison on the 24th (wisbirdnet).

A single Common Loon on Lake Mendota, the 26th (wisbirdnet).

A Woodcock near Shawano, the 26th (Joel Whitehouse).

Robins returned to Vilas County (Jim Baughman).

Mar26 Through yesterday, the average temperature for the month of March (24.4 F) was colder than the average for either January (25.9) or February (27.0). The general trend has been about the same through all three months, while the long term averages have risen nearly 20 degrees over that time. Here's a graph of high, low and long term averages for Jan, Feb and March.
Mar22 Green Bay's morning low temp was 11 F, Rhinelander 5 F. With brisk winds the chill factor was well below zero during the night. Heavy bird traffic at our feeders this morning.

Northeastern Wisconsin was treated to 3-6 inches of new snow, blowing and drifting, and temperatures into the "teens" this morning. Springtime in Wisconsin--you gotta love it. Snow last night and this morning brings the total for at least a trace of snow to 15 of 20 days in March--so far.

The East River in Green Bay was open at the Baird Street bridge yesterday, but not completely open further upstream. This blast of cold air (lows in single digits predicted for tonight) will undoubtedly delay open water at least a few more days.


A little more snow overnight in City of Green Bay. We have received 12.8 inches of snow in March and there has been at least a trace of snow on 14 of 19 days. After the very cold period of March 3-5, temperatures have been close to the averages for this season (average high for today is 40 F and the low is 23 F). [late note: we received 2.2 inches of snow on this date, counting what fell in the evening, GF].

Eastern meadowlark singing in east Green Bay at the I-43
industrial park (Joel Trick).

Buds of Silver Maples have been swelled and ready to flower for about 2 weeks, but the weather has not been favorable. Willows (Salix spp.) and some Populus species also have swelled buds (Gary Fewless).

Much of the ice on southern Green Bay is very dark and thin and it wouldn't take much sunny, warm weather and brisk winds to start the general breakup. However, more snow and a return to colder temperatures is forecast for the next couple of days.

Wisconsin DNR reports that Maple sap is running, Snowshoe Hares are turning brown and Great Horned Owl young are hatching now. They also report that spring migration of Canada Geese is about at peak in the Horicon Marsh area.


Enough snow overnight to cover the lawns in City of Green Bay (0.7 inches).

1 Wood Duck, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, Sand Hill Cranes, Longtailed Ducks, Redheads and many Goldeneyes in southern Green Bay. Large sheets of ice moving with the winds and shifting the areas of open water off Point Au Sauble (Rusty Japuntich).

Red-wing blackbirds, Song sparrow, Grackles, Robins, Killdeer, City of Marinette (Steve Price and Dave Marks).

Sandhill Cranes, tundra swans, northern harrier, hooded
Oconto Co., shore of Green Bay (Steve Price and Dave Marks).


Killdeer in Ashwaubenon, Brown Co (Dave Marks).

East River at Baird St. is about half open water; still mostly ice-covered upstream at Beaupre St. (Gary Fewless).

Many reports of Sand Hill Cranes, north to about Brown, Shawano Counties.

Woodcock reported in Monroe County (wisbirdnet).


About 40 Tundra Swans observed flying over the East River in Allouez, Brown Co. (Gary Fewless). Tundra Swans also reported in Monroe, Winnebago (240++) and Outagamie (Shiocton, 1000) Counties (wisbirdnet), and Manitowoc Co (Joel Trick).

Song Sparrow at feeders in Allouez, Brown Co (Gary Fewless).

Sandhill Cranes back on territory, Town of Cooperstown, Manitowoc Co (Joel Trick).

Large flocks of Robins near Neenah, Winnebago Co (wisbirdnet).

Killdeer in Monroe Co (wisbirdnet).

A blooming Crocus (!) adjacent to house in Washington County (wisbirdnet).


Small areas of open water and lots of dark ice on the East River, Allouez (Gary Fewless).

Eastern Chipmunk out and about, Shawano (Joel Whitehouse), and Manitowoc Co, Cooperstown (Joel Trick).

54 Sandhill Cranes reported in Dane Co and an unspecified number at Waupun, Fond du Lac Co (wisbirdnet).

25-30 Tundra Swans reported in Dane Co and about 50 at Rosendale in Fond du Lac Co (wisbirdnet).

Eastern Meadowlarks reported in Jefferson and Walworth Counties (wisbirdnet).

Killdeer reported in Sheboygan and Dane Counties (wisbirdnet).

3 Woodcock observed in courtship displays north of Oshkosh, Winnebago Co (wisbirdnet).


White-fronted Geese, apparently enjoying an increase in recent years, have been reported in surprizingly large numbers and in numerous places in WI in recent days (the Canada Goose is the species most often seen in WI) (wisbirdnet).

Returning Great Blue Herons reported in Jefferson, Dane and Adams Counties (wisbirdnet).

Once again the snowcover is nearly gone in the Green Bay area and once again tonight we are expecting a winter storm with a difficult-to-predict mix of snow, sleet and rain (Gary Fewless).


We've had a few Red-winged Blackbirds noted in the winter and a report of a single bird yesterday, but so far no returning flocks reported for UWGB. The flocks that have returned to the Green Bay area appear to be frequenting the larger wetlands along Green Bay and the local rivers (Gary Fewless).

First returning Brown-headed Cowbirds, Manitow Co; Red-winged Blackbirds common in the I-43 Industrial Park on the East Side of the City of Green Bay (Joel Trick).

Two Woodcock "displaying" in the Janesville Area, Rock County (Andy Paulios, via wisbirdnet).

Sugar Maple sap is beginning to run fast enough to make collection worthwhile, Calumet Co.


Skunk Cabbage in flower, UW-Green Bay. Last year's flowering date for this site was March 22. The earliest flowering dates for this population were Feb 23, 1998 and Feb 25, 2000. The population is located in a spring that does not usually freeze in winter and therefore the plants get an early start. Plants not growing in springs may not flower for several weeks yet (Gary Fewless).

Large numbers of Red-winged Blackbirds reported along the Fox River in Outagamie County (Wisbirdnet).

"Eastern Bluebird (singing male), numerous White-throated Sparrows calling, and a Song Sparrow singing", Dane County (wisbirdnet)

Several reports of Sand Hill Cranes in Wisconsin including a flock of 75 entering Wisconsin in Kenosha County ,a total of 194 in about 15 flocks passing over an observer in Jefferson County, and others in Rock and Washington Counties (wisbirdnet).

Mar11 Red-wing Blackbirds are officially back and on territory. On
the drive from Madison to Janesville today they were present in almost
every wetland and along the roadsides as single individuals (Andy Paulios).

There were at least three observations of Turkey Vultures in Southern Wisconsin over the weekend (wisbirdnet).

Reports of Killdeer from Dane and Walworth Counties (wisbirdnet).

Western Chorus Frogs calling in Racine County on 03/09 (wisbirdnet).


A little rain and temperatures into the mid 40's early (high of 48 F in GB), then very windy and colder. Baird Creek is at flood stage. Duck creek is still only partially open and the East River is still completely frozen (Gary Fewless).

Relatively large flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds (RWBB) returned to a marsh along the East River in Allouez, yesterday. This is about the time they have returned to this marsh in recent years. It isn't easy to pick a return date this year since so many birds of many species overwintered in WI this year and clearly some mixed flocks including returning RWBB were noted in Allouez on Feb 25 (Gary Fewless).

First returning Redwings, Grackles, Robins, Manitowoc Co (Joel Trick)


Another storm swept through the Green Bay area last night, including thunder and lightning and considerable rain (0.62 inches in GB). Areas in central WI received about 3 inches of snow. Total snow depths of 6-8 inches or more are common across Wisconsin with depths of up to 27 inches at Hurley.Warm temperatures have moved in and today's highs are predicted in the upper 30's (Gary Fewless).

Chronic wasting disease has been diagnosed in 3 deer from Wisconsin. It is a disease affecting the brains of whitetail deer and Elk and is fatal for deer. It is related to Mad Cow disease, but is believed not to be dangerous to humans. The disease may have been introduced to the western U.S. and has only been confirmed in WI last week.


Some people were concerned that the very mild winter which kept Lake Michigan from icing over this winter (even Green Bay apparently never froze completely this year) would result in even further decline in the Lake Michigan water levels. Periods of low later are normal for Lake Michigan, but cause difficulties for Great Lakes shipping and for marina and shoreline property owners. However, recent data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports that the water level fell only about 0.1 foot in February and in fact we are actually about 0.55 foot (6.6 inches) above the level at this time last year. Water levels normally begin to rise in March, due to the addition of spring melt water and to greater average precipitation in March.

A report from northern Illinois of two Great Blue Herons arriving and hanging around together--possibly a breeding pair. Certainly there were a few GBH around late into the winter and maybe even through, but this sounds like returning birds.


To put the recent weather into perspective, here's a graph of this winter's temperatures, from Nov 1 through March 5. Notice that the recent cold temperatures are by far the lowest relative to seasonal averages, as well as absolutely the coldest of the winter. On the positive side notice that we are well past the annual low point for average temperatures and in fact the daily averages are about 10 degrees F above the average high and low temperatures in late January.

There is good reason to hope that spring is not too far off and soon we will have more phenology items related to returning/emerging animals and developing plants.

Mar04 This morning's low of -13 F was a record for this date, and the coldest temperture so far this winter.
Mar03 Yesterday's snowfall of 7.5 inches was the largest one day snowfall for the winter and our total of 8.7 inches of snow for the first 4 days of March is more than we had in the entire month of February. Our low temperature of -6 F equals our coldest tempertature of the winter and was only the 4th time the temperature fell below zero all winter.


A major winter storm dumps 7.5 inches of snow on Green Bay with peak winds out of the north at 33 mph resulting in large drifts.

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Last updated on May 20, 2015