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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 2011 Mouse-over the photo for the identity of the subject
Baird Creek March 14, 2010

Mar 31

The East River has frozen lightly each night and thawed during each day since the 24th, but this morning it finally remained open.

We received 22.3 inches of snow during March. Maximum snow depth was 18 inches, declining to 9 inches by yesterday morning. In terms of precipitation as water equivalent it was the 14th wettest March.

March helped make 2010/11 the 6th snowiest winter in Green Bay history and we are only about 1 inch short of 5th place (April snow is not rare here, GB averages 2.7 inches, so it may not be over yet).

It is worth noting that 3 of the 6 snowiest winters on record for Green Bay occurred in the last 4 winters. And the other 3 occurred in the 1880's.

  winter Total
1 1887/88 147.7
2 1889/90 103.6
3 2008/09 87.7
4 2007/08 87.4
5 1886/87 82.7
6 2010/11 81.7
Mar 30 The temperature rose to 38° F today, achieving some reduction in the snow cover. There is still about a foot of snow. The heavy snow of March 22/23 followed by the long cold period has been very hard on returning birds.
Mar 28

The morning low temperature was 2° F. East River is ice-covered again. Laona about 100 miles north reports a low temperature of -4° F. Green Bay has been continuously below freezing from the 22nd through midday today after which the temperature eked out a high of 33° F.

Mar 27

Sometimes it is easy to overlook interesting scenes in your local area. Look at this photo from Allouez in the middle of the greater Green Bay area, and try to interpret the scene. An explanation is here.

The morning low temperature was 8° F in Green Bay and the east River froze again. This time the ice was thick enough to support Canada Geese in the morning, but it opened up by evening.

Mar 26 A morning low temperature of 2° F in Green Bay. The East River froze again over night, but so thinly that I doubt anything heavier than a mouse could cross it without falling through. The ice cover melted during the day, although the daily high was only 26° F.
Mar 25

The cold air mass remains in Green Bay. Today's morning low temperature was 10° F and temperatures are forecast to remain below freezing for several days. However, the sun was bright and the sun's angle is higher now and there was enough heat to melt the thin ice of the East river during the day today.

Last year both deer ticks and wood ticks had been reported by this date--there is some up-side to the snow I guess (not to mention we had a couple more opportunities to snowshoe).

In 2007 on this date our high temperature of 73° F broke the old record of 69, and we had already heard the calls of Wood Frogs and Spring Peepers.

Mar 24

The two day storm for March 22 and 23 turned out to be our biggest storm for the winter and the biggest snowstorm in over 120 years. The two day total of 17.8 inches is the 3rd largest snow storm in Green Bay recorded history. The only 2 larger storms are from 1888 (29 inches!!) and 1889 (23.1 inches). The total snow for each day was also a record, 7.8 inches on the 22nd (previous record 7.5 in 1955) and 10.0 inches on the 23rd (previous record 5.7 inches in 1980).

Today's morning low temperature fell to 11°, putting a lot of stress on many plants and animals.

The East River at my regular phenology site has now refrozen since last night.

The morning after the storm (today) dawned clear and bright, creating great conditions for photography. Here are several photos from Baird Creek.
Baird Creek.BairdCreek.Baird Creek.BairdCreek

Mar 23

Springtime in Wisconsin! The heavy snow last night came with the strongest and most extensive thunder I can recall from a snow storm. The total snowfall isn't posted yet, but the Green Bay station of the U.S. Weather Service reported 7.8 inches of snow before midnight last night, for a total of 12.3 inches so far in March. Our neighborhood had about 9 inches of new snow on the ground this morning. Snow continues into mid-afternoon, and is predicted to continue into the evening. The snow is wet and heavy and sticking to everything. Many branches are bent over to the ground.

Here are paired photos showing the difference from yesterday to today in UW-Green Bay's Cofrin Arboretum.

Mar 22 A large storm is sweeping across the country, generating winter storm warnings from Wyoming to Michigan. Heavy snow, sleet, and rain are predicted for Green Bay. Snow began about mid-day and continued into the night.
Mar 21

The ice is off the East River this morning at my usual checkpoint in Allouez. It became ice-covered on December 1, so the ice-covered period was 110 days. The average for the last 20 years is 105.2 days, but the length has ranged widely from 62 to 148 days!

The vernal equinox occurs today. We are about half-way between the shortest and the longest days of the year, and the dark and light periods are about equal.

Mar 19 Today's full moon falls at the time of the moon's perigee (point in its elliptical orbit when it is closest to earth), therefore the moon appears its largest and brightest, and not to be repeated for about 18 years (2029).
Mar 18

Baird Creek is at about the spring high water stage today.

This is the first day that the snow depth was listed as zero by the Green Bay station of the U.S. Weather service.

Mar 17

Today small flocks of Tundra Swans are moving thru to the west. Most of Green Bay is still frozen. First flock of Wood Ducks, plus Swamp and Song sparrows. Woodcocks have joined the Sandhill Cranes which arrived last weekend in southern Oconto county (Tom Erdman).

Although we have a resident population of Canada Geese in Green Bay, the change of seasons can be told by pairs of geese out shopping for a new neighborhood in which to nest.

Although the above ground portion of some herbaceous plants dies each Fall, the leaves of some other plants stay alive all winter under the snow and get an early start in the spring. If you look closely now, as the melting snow exposes the forest floor, you may see some live basal leaves of Geum canadense (white avens). Later, this plant will produce more leaves (photo is May 3) and a stem (photo is June 30) about 2 feet tall with white flowers. In the first photo, also notice that the mosses are already green and growing--they have to get going early to make use of the spring moisture.

Mar 16

First day of flower for Caltha palustris (marsh marigolds), UWGB. The first plants to flower are always in areas fed by springs. The upwelling water warms these sites and the soil freezes little if at all where flow is strong. Other individuals of the same species just a few meters away from the springs may not flower for another 2-3 weeks. In 26 consecutive years of data this is the second earliest date of flower for this species and the earliest was only by one day, March 15. The average date is April 8.

Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage) is also in flower (anthesis) in similar spring-fed sites.

European paper wasp, Polistes dominulus (Vespidae):  Walking on sidewalk near Environmental Sciences building, UWGB (Mike Draney).

Baird Creek flow from melt water is increasing.

Red-Wing Blackbird (male), Waukechon Township, Shawano Co. (Joel Whitehouse).

Mar 15

I saw (and heard) two Sandhill Cranes flying over UW-Green Bay's Cofrin Arboretum this morning. It is another one of those distinctive signs of early spring here. Canada Geese were active and noisy this morning, but it's difficult to distinguish returning geese from those that over-winter here.

Asian multicolored ladybird beetle, Harmonia axyridis (Coccinellidae):  walking on sidewalk near Lab Sciences building, UWGB (Mike Draney).

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

Baird Creek is beginning to flow with meltwater. By the end of the day it will likely erode most of the remaining ice-cover along the sides--if not today, tomorrow for sure.

Snow depth is down to 4 inches at the Weather Service station for Green Bay.

Mar 14

I saw this Red Fox on the way to work this morning. He was hunting for breakfast in the few grassy, open spots.

The Red-winged blackbirds are officially back in flocks to my usual East River site, and widely throughout the Green Bay area. Note that one male had returned March 8, but this phenology item requires at least small flocks. They returned on March 8 last year. The average date for the last 26 years is March 9, with the earliest on Feb 26 and the latest on March 22. Robins are back too and people have been reporting small numbers for about a week.


Mar 13

The Green Bay station of the National Weather service lists a snow depth of 5 inches, several days of warmer weather are forecast and rapid melting is expected.

Eastern Chipmunk out and about, flock of Bohemian Waxwings,

Mar 11 American Robin, Waukechon Township, Shawano Co. (Joel Whitehouse). Robins are not clear this spring, see March 14 entry (GF).
Mar 10

We began the day with 7 inches of snow on the ground this morning at the National Weather Service reporting station in Green Bay, but we reached a high temperature of 41° F and there was considerable melting of snow.

There is still one lone Red-winged Blackbird in our marsh.

Mar 09

One of our famous March snowstorms arrives, delivering 4 inches of wet, heavy snow to Green Bay. Kudos to the weather forecasters on this one, it has been predicted just so for about 5 days in advance. Similar success is noted for the previous storm too, on Feb. 20/21. Predicting the weather is a bit like predicting how the milk will swirl into your morning coffee. Several photos of the snow at about 9 a.m.

Mar 08

I heard my first Red-winged Blackbird singing this morning, in marshes along the East River in Allouez, Brown County. A few Red-wings often over-winter in the Green Bay area, but there have been none all winter in our neighborhood. I wallk near this marsh morning and evening every day and have heard or seen none previously. He may regret his early arrival because a big storm is headed our way for tomorrow with snow and possibly freezing rain. My regular phenology item is for return of flocks of red-wings, which probably will be delayed for at least several days now.

Small flocks of Robins, Oconto County, Town of Pensaukee, near Green Bay Shore (Tom Erdman).

Mar 05 When skies are clear the constellation Orion is bright and conspicuous in our southern sky.
Mar 04

Another report of Eastern Chipmunk out and about, Oconto County, Town of Pensaukee (Tom Erdman). Light rain/mist just about all day in Green Bay and temperatures in low 30's.

Snow depth is still 7 inches in Green Bay.

Mar 03 A trace of snow at the U.S Weather Service station in Green Bay, and a bit more at some localities and a morning low of 12° F.
Mar 02 I was surprised given today’s weather, but our Eastern Chipmunk was out this morning in our back yard, City of Green Bay (Bob Howe). [morning low temperature was 11° F, but yesterday's high of 39° might have been the stimulus, GF]
Mar 01

The photo at the top of the page is Baird Creek from March 14, 2010. March in Green Bay is usually the month when the continuous winter snow-cover ends and the melt waters and March rains produce flooding on local streams. Of course we can usually count on at least one more good snowfall.

General snow depth is 8 inches at the Green Bay National Weather Service station. Following are the snow depths on March 1st in recent years.
2010: 6 inches, and we received no new snow in March.
2009: 7 inches, and we received 9.1 inches of new snow in March with at least a trace of snow on 7 days (one 6 inch day).
2008: 17 inches, and we received 4.3 inches of new snow in March with at least a trace of snow on 11 days.
2007: 11 inches, and we received 8.9 inches of new snow in March with at least a "trace" on 9 days.
2006: 7 inches, and we received 3.5 inches of new snow in March and at least a trace of snow on 15 days!

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Last updated on May 20, 2015