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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 2009Baird Creek March 17, 2009

Mouse-over the photo for the identity of the subject

Mar 31 Woodcock have returned; also Ruffed Grouse drumming, Oconto County, Pensaukee area (Tom Erdman).
Mar 30 A new covering of thin ice formed on the St. Joseph Street pond this morning in the early hours. It had only been ice-free since the 28th. [the new ice melted by day's end, gf]
Mar 29

Green Bay received 1.1 inches of snow overnight--mostly before midnight. We are now only 0.1 inches of snow below last winter's landmark snowfall.

A single Great Egret in the St. Joseph Street stormwater detention pond. I think they've been reported for about a week in southern Wisconsin.

First returning female Red-winged Blackbirds, Town of Cooperstown, Manitowoc County (Joel Tick).

Mar 28

Tundra Swans over our marsh on the East River in Allouez, Brown County Wisconsin. This seems consistent with several notes of others from the area, though it is probably not the absolute first sighting.

The last ice finally melted off the stormwater detention pond north of St. Joseph Street.

Mar 27

Corylus americana (American hazel) flowers have stigmas of female flowers exserted, but no pollen yet released by male flowers.

Fargo North Dakota and its sister City of Moorhead Minnesota on the Red River, are experiencing all-time high flood levels predicted to rise as high as 42 or 43 feet, over 20 feet above flood stage. Flooding in North Dakota is nearly state-wide and some areas of the cities have been evacuated in anticipation of the flood crest in the next couple of days. The state has been declared a federal disaster area.

A storm approaches Wisconsin with about 3 inches of snow predicted for Saturday. That would move this winter into third place in the snowiest winter contest. This storm is now in the area of Kansas and Oklahoma where 1-2 feet of snow are predicted! Colorado has already received over a foot of snow in the northern portions with high winds, and portions of Interstate 25 were closed. The eastern half of the state was under a blizzard warning yesterday. [late note: the storm did indeed deliver as much as 2 feet of snow in parts of Kansas, but moved east enough to deliver only 1.1 inches to Green Bay]

Mar 26

First day of flowering (anthesis) for Alnus incana (speckeld alder).

A pair of Canada Geese are scouting out the area around the stormwater detention pond north of St Jospeh St., near the East River in Allouez. We have resident geese all winter in the Green Bay area, so seeing geese is no surprise, but they are now looking for nest sites--and being quite vodal about intruders. The pond is till partially covered by ice.

Song sparrows are back. I know I missed the first returners, but they've been back at least since March 25 in our neighborhood.

Dr. H.J. (Bud) Harris pointed out that the recent period of low water level on Lake Michigan (and therefore on Green Bay) is unprecedented in the last 40 years, and with few comparable periods since records have been kept. Here is a graph of monthly mean water levels for Lake Michigan, illustrating that the years since 1999 stand out from the others as being consistently very low. The extended period of low water undoubtedly contributed to the explosive spread of Phragmites australis (giant reed) on the exposed lake bed along Green Bay's west shore during this period.

Mar 25 This winter of 2008/2009 has been the 4th snowiest on record for Green Bay, with 86.2 inches of snow (so far). Last year (2007/2008) was the third snowiest with 87.4 inches. We only need 1.3 inches to move up the ranks into third place.
Mar 22

Today, I saw my first Julid millipede walking on the sidewalk.  These are the millipedes that are so common in UWGB hallways in spring and fall.
Location: Sidewalk SE of Lab Sciences Building, UWGB (Mike Draney).

Still Tree Sparrows in our yard, Brown County, WI.

Mar 21

Snow began last night and continued into this morning in Green Bay, and we awoke to snow-covered driveways and sidewalks this morning. The Green Bay weather station reported a total of 2 inches between last night and early this morning. The temperature reached 53° F later and it felt more spring-like.

Ice is now off the East River at my usual checkpoint at Beaupre Street in Allouez (GF). It froze over finally last Fall on Dec 2. The continuously ice-coverd period is therefore 113 days. Last year the ice froze on Nov. 27 and went out at this location on March 27, for an ice-covered period of 121 days. See the notes for March 27, 2008 for a discussion of the East River ice cover over the last 18 years.

Ice was out on the East River farther up-stream at Highway 172 yesterday (Vicki Medland).

First day of flower (anthesis)for Acer saccharinum (silver maple) at my long-term monitoring location. Last year that tree did not flower until April 4.

First day of flower (anthesis) for Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage).

First returning individuals of Turkey Vulture, Town of Cooperstown, Manitowoc County (Joel Tick).

Mar 19

There were snow flurries in the morning in Green Bay.

First returning individuals of Fox Sparrow, Town of Cooperstown, Manitowoc County (Joel Tick).

Mar 18 Chipmunks out and about, UWGB's Cofrin Arboretum (Aaron Groves).
Mar 17

The temperature reached 66° F in Green Bay today. This is our warmest day since last October 13 (155 days). Baird creek is running very high.

This is the first day that the National Weather Service station in Green Bay reported the snow cover as "0", since November 30. The period of continuous mid-winter snow cover this winter (2008/2009) was the 10th longest on record for Green Bay at 107 days. The period was Nov. 30, 2008 through March 16, 2009. Since the snow depth is measured early in the morning each day, November 30 reported "0" but there was 2.8 inches of snow later in the day. We had a trace of snow reported on Oct. 17 and the first measurable snow of 0.9 inches on November 8. We had at least a "trace" of snow on 76 days during the winter and a total of 84.2 inches over the winter, though we can't be sure the snow is done yet. Maximum snow depth was 19 inches on Dec 24, and the largest single-day snowfall was 6.0 inches on March 8, though some storms extended over two days with higher totals.

The snow has only been off the path (in patches) for a few days and already we can see new growth in several weedy plants in the Cofrin Arboretum paths on the open spots. The plants are identified on the photograph: Maricaria discoidea (pineapple weed), Poa annua (annual bluegrass), Glechoma hederacea (gill-oer-the-ground) and Capsella bursa-pastoris (shepherds purse). All are annual species, though at least Matricaria seems to be capable of the "winter annual" habit as well.

As far as we can see from the UWGB shore, at least lower Green Bay is fully ice-covered yet.

Five Bald Eagles were seen over UW-Green Bay today (Tom Erdman).

First returning individuals of Eastern Bluebird, Town of Cooperstown, Manitowoc County (Joel Tick).

Mar 16

Green Bay reached a high temperature of 58° F today and serious melt water is beginning to flow in area streams--the rate of flow in Baird Creek increased dramatically during the day today (thanks to Paul Hartman for afternoon observation).

First returning individuals of Song Sparrow, Town of Cooperstown, Manitowoc County (Joel Tick).

Mar 15

One Sandhill Crane in our marsh along the East River, Brown County (Kate Hutton).

The first dwarf mistletoe plants (Arceuthobium pusillum) have begun to flower in the Baileys Harbor area of Door County, WI (Carol Schuster and Karen Newbern). See photos of this species.

First returning individuals of Killdeer, Town of Cooperstown, Manitowoc County (Joel Tick).

Mar 14

Sandhill Cranes calling in Shawano area (Joel Whitehouse).

Killdeer and Robins back in Oconto County near Pensaukee (Tom Erdman)

First returning individuals of Sandhill Crane, Brown-headed Cowbird, Common Grackle, Town of Cooperstown, Manitowoc County (Joel Tick).

Mar 12

Low temperature of 4° F. Warmer temperatures are forecast for the next few days.

High winds from the west pushed a large piece of ice off northern Green Bay and into and past Washington Island. Wind gusts up to 58 mph were recorded for Washington Island and the large piece of ice was reported to be moving at 20-25 mph. The satellite photos indicate that Green Bay was fully ice-covered before today.

Mar 11

This morning's low temperature of 10° F in Green Bay was accompanied by 25-30 mph winds. Spring will have to wait.

Wisconsin DNR reports that the Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis) has now been found in 44 separate locations in and around the town of Newberg on the Washington/Ozaukee county line. It is an alien beetle from Asia that may have entered the U.S. through Detroit, probably in the late 1990's (not discovered until 2002), and has now spread from Michigan and Ontario to Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The larvae of the beetles, feed on the vascular tissues under the bark and have killed millions of ash trees already. Previous attempts to control the Emerald Ash Borer in Michigan and elsewhere have been unsuccessful, unless the infestations are found very quickly, so Wisconsin will monitor closely for spread of the insects. It appears that all native ash species are vulnerable to the beetle.
Mar 10 You may have heard of the "Wolf Moon" describing the full moon of January or the "Harvest Moon" of September or October. Tonight's full-moon represents the less well-known, "Worm Moon" of March. Not nearly as impressive in terms of imagery, but significant in that this is the month in which the soil tends to thaw in the northern regions and the worms make their spring debut. Keep your eyes open for the first earthworm "castings" in the coming weeks.
Mar 8

Green Bay received 6 inches of mostly wet and heavy snow in a vigorous winter storm. There was even one big burst of lightning and the accompanying thunder. The snow wasn't too wet and heavy to keep it from drifting into my driveway, though. The precipitation total, (as water) was 0.73 inches-- both snow depth and precipitation as water were new records for this date.

Red-winged Blackbirds in Shawano (Joel Whitehouse).

First returning individuals of American Robin, Town of Cooperstown, Manitowoc County (Joel Tick).

Mar 7

High temperature of 43° F and the snow depth was down to 2 inches. A major snow storm is predicted for tomorrow for the Green Bay area.

Red-winged Blackbirds and Sandhill Cranes, Boom Bay (Lake Poygan) Wisconsin (Jeff Law).

Red-winged blackbird observed, Grand Chute, WI (Tom Nedland).

First returning individuals of Red-winged Blackbird, Town of Cooperstown, Manitowoc County (Joel Tick).

Mar 6

Another mild day with high temperature of 42° F. The morning snow depth was reported as 4 inches at the GB weather station.

Several more reports of a few Red-winged Blackbirds back in the Green Bay area.

Mar 5 A high temperature of 41° F in Green Bay and it felt a little like spring. The first Red-winged Blackbirds arrived in the marshes along the East River today. There were none in the morning, but by evening there were several singing males. That is an indication that spring can't be too far away, although I think they may have been even more overly-optimistic than usual. The Green Bay office of the National Weather Service reported a snow depth of 6 inches this morning. The red-wings usually wait until there is a bit more open soil before they return. There are ominous predictions for snow in a couple of days.
Mar 4 Our high temperature of 35° F takes us above freezing for the first time this month.
Mar 3 Cold continues. The morning low was -9° F in Green Bay. On the positive side, it hasn't snowed for 3 days.
Mar 2 The weather is definitely headed in the wrong direction as this morning's low temperature in Green Bay was -6° F.
Mar 1 With a low temperature of 0° F and the high reaching only 16°, it seems March has entered like a lion.

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Last updated on May 20, 2015