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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 2010spring meltwater in Bairds Creek

Mouse-over the photo for the identity of the subject

March 31

First day of flower for Capsella bursa-pastoris (shepherd's purse), Corylus americana (American hazelnut), Ulmus americana (American elm), Ulmus pumila (Siberian elm) and Salix discolor (pussy willow), all in City of Green Bay. Also Corylus cornuta (beaked hazelnut) in ForestCounty.

Green Bay's high temperature was 73° F and the morning low temperature was 47. The daily average was 22 degrees above "normal".

First Spring Peepers (frogs) calling at Pensaukee, Oconto County (Tom erdman). [Wood Frogs began calling at that site March 19, gf].

Spring Peepers singing, Eastern Phoebe singing, Wood Frogs singing. Mosquito's out too, Shawano Co., Waukechon Twnshp (Joel Whitehouse).

There is still some ice cover on some lakes in Forest and northern OcontoCounties, but the ice is extremely thin and dark and it will probably not survive another day or two of this very hot weather (70's F). Others such as Anderson Lake are ice-free.

Mourning Cloak butterfly out, UWGB (Amy Wolf); Forest County (Gary Fewless).

March 30

To this date, the average temperature for March 2010 is about 6° F above "normal" (i.e. the long term average for monthly mean temperature). Also precipitation is very low, 0.31 inches total, which is 1.59 inches below average. Conditions are very dry and the WISDNR has raised the fire danger to "extreme". There is usually a dry, fire-prone period in spring, but this is very early.

Three American White Pelicans observed at Waverly Beach, Lake Winnebago, Menasha, Calumet Co, Wisconsin, United States (Jeff Law).

March 27

UW-Green Bay's Prairie Pond is now fully ice-free. This (03/27) is the average ice-free date for 14 years of observations. The first day of full ice cover for the continuous mid-winter period was Dec. 4, therefore the ice-on period was 113 days (about 16 weeks). Last winter (2008/2009) the pond was ice-covered for 129 days.

Woodcock singing, Shawano Co., Waukechon Twnshp (Joel Whitehouse).

First report of Garter Snake on UWGB.

March 24 A deer tick (?) was found during a birding field trip today (an immature--I'll pursue an ID and update this entry if possible). Deer ticks are definitely on the increase in our area also (note the early woodtick on March 21).
March 22 First day of flower (anthesis) for Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen), UWGB. This is the second earliest date in the last 25 years, but it is a new location. The average first flower date on UWGB is April 4.
March 21

Song Sparrow, Fritze Park, Town of Menasha, Winnebago Co. WI, United States (Jeff Law).

Two woodticks, one on a person and the other on a dog, Oconto County (Tom erdman). There is a trend toward much earlier appearance of woodticks in our area, and the season lasts longer than I recall.

March 19

Alnus incana (speckled alder) in flower (anthesis) Brown County, City of green Bay.

First wood frogs calling last night; woodcock numerous, Pensaukee, Oconto County (Tom Erdman).

March 18

First day of flower (anthesis) for the earliest flowering individual that I know for Acer saccharinum (silver maple). With 25 years of data on this tree the average first date of flower is March 25.

Alnus incana (speckeld alder) in flower (anthesis) Oconto County, Town of Abrams (Juniper Sundance).

March 17

I saw an active water strider this morning on UWGB's Cofrin Arboretum. Last year the first sighting was April 4. The average first date for water striders on UWGB has been March 27, over the lasts 19 years.

Although there is a large area of open water at the mouth of the Fox River, most of what can be seen of Green Bay from the shoreline at UWGB, is still ice-covered.

Sandhill Cranes, Town of Wescott, Shawano County (Joel Whitehouse).

Wood frogs calling, Mud Lake State Wildlife Area, Dodge County, WI (Ann Murphy).

March 16

Ice is now off the East River at my usual checkpoint at Beaupre Street in Allouez (GF). It was still frozen over last night at about 7 pm, but it was open this morning. Some other locations, even upstream near Green Isle Park, were open yesterday. This spot on the river froze over December 5, making this winters period of continuous ice-cover 101 days. Last winter the ice-covered period was 113 days. As can be seen from this graph covering the last 19 years, there is a wide range of values for the ice-covered period-- from 62 to 148 days.

As of yesterday afternoon (15 March) the East River was still completely iced over at Mason Street. This morning, the East River was completely open at Main Street [i.e. where Baird St. crosses the East River, adjacent to Main St., gf].   Haven't looked yet at whether Mason Street is open, too (Mike Draney).

House flies have emerged in various buildings after the long winter. I'm guessing active flies in seasonal greenhouses, farm out-buildings, etc. have preceded this notice.

March 15

Woodcock calling, Pensaukee, Oconto County (Tom Erdman).

We've found more than half a dozen fleas on our dogs the past few days...a sign of spring? (Mike Draney).

March 13

We had our first song sparrow of the year in the yard. Also, 7 tundra swans flew over the field heading north towards the Bay, City of Green Bay, east side (B. Pierce).

Garter Snake out near the compost pile, Pensaukee, Oconto County . This is about the peak of the spring snowmelt flush in this area (Tom Erdman).

March 12

Mild temperatures continue, snow is rapidly disaappearing and mornings have often been foggy.

Killdeer and Eastern Meadowlarks back in Green Bay (Bob Howe).

March 11

This is the last day for which the Green Bay weather station reports snow depth of 1 inch. After this it lists "trace" and then "0". The first day of snow cover was Dec 9, so the period of continuous snow cover this winter was 93 days.

The portion of Baird Creek below the railroad bridge was ice and snow-covered until today, when melt-water opened it up (though, in part, the water is running on top of ice).

There is much open water at river mouths along Green Bay shores, but the ice farther out has been reported at 12-16 inches thick. At this time of year the ice deteriorates quickly, and unevenly so ice fisherman, snowmobilers and others are urged to exercise caution. Every year we lose people on the ice.

Wis DNR reports the total deer kill for 2009 was 329,103.

Many ponds and slow streams now have puddled water on top of the ice.

March 10

The overnight low temperature of 34° F marks the first night that the temperature has not fallen below freezing, since January 24th (45 days), and beyond that single instance back to Dec 2 (32°; 98 days) or Nov. 25th (42°).

I found one Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage) in flower (anthesis) today, City of Green Bay. The number of individuals appears to be very, very low, though there is still snow that might hide some.

I also found a spider right out on the snow. The photo is poor, but I didn't have time to get a better lense for a macro. Dr. Mike Draney of UW-Green Bay comments on the spider, as follows: ... a sheet web spider (Linyphiidae) called Pityohyphantes costatus, the hammock spider.   They overwinter as juveniles in trees, and we've only just documented their presence in the Cofrin Arboretum, thanks to Santi Ocariz's Cofrin Research Project in which we found them in trees using traps.

Some reports of Sand Hill Cranes in Brown County today and at least small numbers of the regular early-returning birds, Robins, Grackles. Cowbirds, Killdeer.

Reports from the Lake Superior area say that the winter produced very little ice on the lake.

March 9

2 Killdeer, Freedom, Outagami County, WI (Jeff Law).

March 8

Green Bay hit a remarkable high temperature of 51° F today. That is the highest temperature since November 22 (the opening weekend of gun deer season and a few days before Thanksgiving). The "normal" (average) high temperature for this date is 36° F.

First returning Red-winged Blackbirds at our marsh on the east River in Allouez. To me their calls are a powerful sign of spring.

Saw my first Red Wing Blackbird today at 6:55 a.m.  He was setting up territory by singing at the top of a street tree.  Also saw more than 6 Honey Bees both at my blooming crocus and trapped in my greenhouse.  The ones in the greenhouse I caught and released back outside.  They flew in maybe becaues I moved wintered plants out of my basement and into that space today.  I have heard American Robins, but have not seen them yet (Dave Parsons, Green Bay WI ).

March 7 Green Bays high temperature reached 45° F.
March 6 Today's high temperature of 42° F is the highest in Green Bay since December first, when it was 46 F. That is a period of 95 days.
March 5 A low temperature of 16° F at about 5 a.m. this morning and then fog, followed by thick frost on just about everything.
March 4 Another mild day and clear skies. Still very little new activity reported for birds--even in southern Wisconsin.
March 3

Saw a lace wing on the west side of the house at 3pm today, Seymour WI, (Elaine Olsen Friedrick).

We've noticed several invertebrates since last Saturday (Feb 27), including a "wooly bear" caterpillar in our local marsh along the East River on Feb 27.

There have been several days with high temperatures rising above freezing--enough to thaw a little of the surface soil on some bare spots, creating the start of our mud season.

Although we've had Cardinals calling for a long time, there is a marked increase in their calls in the last couple of days. Also the crows have stepped up their vocalizations, creating a little early spring atmosphere, for me at least.

March 2

A clear sunny day in Green Bay, as here on UWGB's Cofrin Arboretum. It was cold and clear last night and even in the city the full moon and the familiar constellations such as Orion seemed exceptionally bright.

Here's a summary of the snow cover in March over the last 5 years. The date shown in red at the top is the last day that the U.S.Weather Service station at Green Bay reported snow depth of more than a trace (we could get more new snow afterward, but this is midwinter continuous snow cover). Snow depth is not uniform, due in part to varying effects of wind, slope and shading. As the snow depth decreases (and before it reaches 0 in the weather station statistics) there are usually considerable areas of bare soil.

March 1

We begin the month of march with a snow depth of 6 inches and the promise of slightly warmer temperatures in the next few days. It is similar to last year when we had 7 inches of snow on March 1. In 2008 we had 17 inches of snow on March 1, and we weren't snow-free until the last day of the month.

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Last updated on May 20, 2015