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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 2013 Mouse-over the photo for the identity of the subject
Baird Creek

March 31
snow on Easter It's almost a tradition to have a little new snow in northern Wisconsin for Easter, and today didn't disappoint.

Green Bay's average temperature for the month was 4.4° F below normal. There was still a standing snow depth of 1 inch on the 30th and the weather station listed a "trace" on the 31st. There is still plenty of snow in the woods and elsewhere.

Laona, 80 miles NNW received 3.2 inches of new snow today and reports 18 inches on the ground!

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports that Lake Michigan water level is about 15 inches lower for March than it was last year in March.

March 30

Tundra Swans flying over East River in Allouez (Kate Hutton).

Thousands of swans over Green Bay, Oconto County (Tom Erdman). Also Kildeer back.

Song Sparrow seen and heard, Brown County, East DePere, along the Fox River Trail.

American Woodcock calling and exhibiting the mating flight in my front yard this evening. Lots and lots of tundra swans in the area. White Pelicans at the mouth of the Fox also this morning, Suamico, Brown County, WI (Kathryn Corio).

March 29 Killdeer, City of Shawano and Waukechon Township in Shawano County (Joel Whitehouse).
March 28
pond comparison Here is a comparison of UW-Green Bay's Prairie Pond between last year March 26 and this year March 28. It does a better job of explaning how much different the two springs were.
March 27

Red-winged Blackbirds are back in Green Bay in numbers. This evening there were 100+ RW's in our marsh near the East River in Allouez, and some were singing on territory in the marsh. Small numbers have been reported widely in the last few days and often at feeders and not in the marsh, but this is the first return of sizeable flocks. That is the latest they have returned to this marsh in the last 28 years. They returned to this same site last year on March 7, and the long-term average there is March 11 (28 years data).

There was also a report of a Turkey Vulture flying over UW-Green Bay this morning (Josh Martinez).

Also a sighting of a skunk crossing a road (Tom Erdman). There were a few skunk sightings earlier during the winter.

Snow level receding a bit, but there is still general snow cover in Green Bay and all of northeastern Wisconsin.

spider on snow I found a live and surprisingly active spider out and about on the snow this morning about 9:30 CDT on UW-Green Bay's Cofrin Arboretum. The air temperature was about 36° F. I think the length including legs outstretched as shown was about 14-15 mm.

Two Sandhill Cranes calling, and Chipmunk out and about Suamico, Brown County (Kathryn Corio).

March 26

Chipmunk out and about, Forest County, Crandon (Ashley Fehrenbach).

I've had two Robins calling and battling for the territory of my yard, E. Green Bay (Brian Pierce). [I've had several reports of a few individuals of both Robins and Red-winged Blackbirds in the last day or two, but still no flocks back yet though, but maybe today, gf]

The Green Bay NOAA weather station reports 6 inches of snow still on the ground. Others of note nearby: Laona, 19 inches and Lac Vieux Desert in Vilas County 30 inches! A friend and long time resident of Iron River in Michigan's upper peninsula reports that he has never seen so much snow as this year.

Today's Green Bay Press Gazette newspaper reports that this is the third latest that Green Bay has gone in March without reaching 40° F. We did, however, reach 40° four times in January and twice in February. [late note: we did reach exactly 40° F today, briefly around 4 p.m.]


March 25 High temperatures still in the mid thirties. I understand that the last time Green Bay experienced a complete month of March without reaching 40° F, was in the 1890's. The forecast predicts 40° on Thursday (March 28).
March 24

Chipmunks out (3 at once), Town of Waukechon, Shawano County (Joel Whitehouse).

March 23

First day of flower (anthesis) for skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) and only one plant so far.

The Green Bay weather station reports 6 inches of snow still on the ground.

March 22

The cold start to Spring continues and I think we may have lowered our expectations. On my way to work this morning, the radio weather report said, "... the warm-up begins tomorrow, when we reach a high of 35 degrees." Green Bay has not been above freezing since the 15th and it will likel;y be a full 7 or 8 days continuously below freezing before we reach that lofty point. Still the frost has been beautiful in the mornings, backlit by the sun.

There is some indication that the ice-cover on Baird Creek is beginning to abate a little. I could hear cracking of ice this morning, apparently as the flow of water beneath the ice has increased to a point at which it is pushing the ice upward. The air temperature was only 20° F at that time though.

March 21

Deer have been coming closer to buildings and streets looking for food as the long winter drags on. They have been coming to food piles left out for them by neighbors, arriving by about 7:00 p.m. (CDT) and they are mostly gone again by about 7:30. We counted 16 deer at one time yesterday, in this area (Allouez, Brown County) which is completely engulfed in the larger Green Bay "metro" city.

The morning low temperature today was 11° F and the high was 30°. Last year the high temperature today was 82° F and the low was 55°. In 2012 March 21 was the 6th consecutive day that Green Bay set a new high temperature record.

March 20
Baird Creek Today is nominally the first day of Spring, but the weather is not lending much support. Spring officially (astronomically) began at a few minutes after 6 a.m. and the temperature in Green Bay was 9° F with wind in the teens and a daily high of 21° predicted [actually reached 22°]. The spring thaw sequence on Baird Creek has reversed and much of the creek is now refrozen (compare to photos of March 11 and 15). Last year on March 20, Green Bay reached a high temperature of 80° F and a painted turtle was seen crossing a road at UWGB. He'd need a periscope today to see above the snow (about 9 inches).
Green Bay ice-cover Ice-cover remains on the southern 2/3 of Green Bay, except for the opening at the mouth of the Fox River, as shown in this satellite photo from March 19. Photo from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's MODIS website.
March 19 Laona, about 80 miles NNW from Green Bay, received 4.3 inches of snow yesterday, making a total of 21 inches of snow on the ground this morning. Green Bay has about 10 inches of snow on the ground at present. It is not unusual for this region to get snow in March, but it is unusual in recent years for the continuous winter snow cover to last so long.
Mahon Creek Mahon Creek on UW-Green Bay's Cofrin Arboretum, with fresh snow.
Baird Creek BairdCreek, City of Green Bay.
March 18

A storm passed through Wisconsin today dropping 4.8 inches of snow in Green Bay (before midnight).

Last year at this date the snow was gone, there were numerous birds back, chipmunks out, frogs calling and silver maple (Acer saccharinum) and speckled alder (Alnus incana) were in flower. Today snow depth was 5 inches before today's storm (4.8 more inches) and none of the above have happened yet. You can check phenology of previous years in the list in green above.

March 15

Red-winged Blackbirds (males) are beginning to trickle back into the area, but in small numbers. The next week will probably be very difficult for them as the ground is largely ice-covered and food will be hard to find, and cold temperatures are forecast. They may be more conspicuous at feeders during this time. Also a Sandhill Crane was spotted flying over southern Oconto County near the Green Bay shore (Tom Erdman).

ice dam

Ice dam part 2, on Baird Creek. This photo shows the effect better than yesterday's.
ice block Ice blocks 4-5 inches thick and very heavy are washed downstream by the rapid current and high water levels resulting from the melting of winter snow.
ice block Frequently the ice blocks collide with trees along the banks, resulting in the bark becoming damaged or torn free. These openings are then subject to pathogens, and smaller trees may be broken off or uprooted. Some species which are resistant to such damage are quite common along the banks. The most notable is silver maple (Acer saccharinum) which often develops a multiple-stemmed growth form right along the stream side. Other notable survivors in our area include box elder (Acer negundo) and crack willow (Salix fragilis).
March 14
ice dam The continuous ice-cover went off Baird Creek on March 11, but cold temperatures have slowed the melting process and even reversed it since then, so there is an interesting mix of liquid water and ice intermixed.
BairdCreek There are a couple of big ice dams causing the water to build up and flood along the edges.
frozen foam One of the interesting and relatively unusual outcomes is the presence of frozen foam formed overnight as temperatures fell to 16° F last night (also evident in the photo immediately above).
March 13

Winter is hanging on. Yesterday's high temperature did not rise above freezing and today it reached only 34° F and rose above freezing for only 3 or 4 hours in the afternoon.

The weather station in Green Bay reports 4 inches of snow on the ground, but Laona just 80 miles NNW, reports 18 inches of snow on the ground.

Although many streams are now running, thick ice is still being reported in northeastern Wisconsin Lakes.

March 11
BairdCreek The winter ice has mostly come off Baird Creek between the morning of March 10 and the morning of March 11. Last year the first open day was March 7.
March 10 The weather Service in Green Bay reports a snow depth of 5 inches, compared to 9 inches a week ago.
March 09

Cardinals singing, Sandhill Cranes calling, Waukechon Township, Shawano County (Joel Whitehouse).

Significant flow of sugar maple (Acer saccharum) sap reported in Manitowoc County.

March 7

The morning low temperature was 14° F and the daily high was 32°. Last year on this date the low was 41°, the high was 58°, and there were big flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds. You can view that day's entry at March 2012 .

March 4
snow on prairie Winter hangs on in the Green Bay area. Yesterday morning's high temperature was 3° F and the daily average was about 11 degrees below "normal". The local snow depth is still 9 inches.
March 1 Large numbers of Horned Larks back in the area over the last couple of days, Oconto County (Tom Erdman).

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Last updated on May 20, 2015