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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.

April 2014
Baird Creek April 5, 2014

April 30
  The overnight low temperature was about 40° F in Green Bay.

First-of-the-year Pine Warbler, UW-Green Bay Cofrin Arboretum (Stephanie Beilke ).
  Whip-poor-will, City of Green Bay (Bob Howe)
At left a pair of mallards are looking for a good neighborhood on the UWGB campus. Mallards are common in our area and certainly the most commonly observed nesting duck in the Green Bay area. They are not too fussy about habitat. In the city I have observed them nesting in a little clump of tall grass inside an old car tire that had once been used as a border for flowers. And in another case they nested in a strip of tall grasses only about 18 inches wide immediately adjacent to the narrow shoulder of a busy road.
  For the month of April 2014, Green Bay's monthly temperature was 2.3 degrees cooler than "normal". Precipitation (as water equivalent if snow) was 1.38 inches (52%) above normal. There was a total of 3.7 inches of snow and there was at least a trace of snow on 7 days.
April 29
Hundreds of gulls feeding together in grassy areas, as here on athletic fields at UW-Green Bay, suggest that earthworms are back in a big way, probably driven to the surface by the rain-soaked soil. They were mostly Ring-billed Gulls, but there were also a few Bonaparte's Gulls mixed in (inset).
  Last year (2013) was the latest spring for phenology of natural events in the Green Bay area since I began keeping organized records in 1986. This prolonged cold spring has moved us about even with last year as of today, but now we move beyond last year as the latest in this period. Last year it warmed up toward the end of April with 60's, 70's and even 80° F on April 30. Today we have cloudy with persistent light rain and a temperature of 37° F in the morning. Temperatures falling into the 30's and rising only into the upper 40's/ low 50's with persistent overcast and rain are forecast for the next 5 days and even beyond. A little snow was forecast for far northern Wisconsin today. This winter (/spring) will undoubtedly be remembered as the coldest in the last century, taken as a whole.
April 28
Cool and cloudy weather persists, but there is now some new growth of the spring ephemerals, as in the trout lily (Erythronium americanum) shown at left.
Box elder (Acer negundo) is also beginning new growth, as shown in the opening buds at left.
April 26
  The Low temperture was 33° F, most of the day in low 40's and overcast. Not much change in the vegetation with this weather which is forecast to persist.
April 25
  Heard our first Purple Martin and saw and heard>100 Rusty Blackbirds, Brown County, near Green Bay shore (Erin Giese).
April 24
  A rainy and cool day. High temperature of only 44° F.
  Green Bay south of Peshtigo Harbor appears to be about 1/2 ice-covered, and north of there about 3/4 covered (open only where the winds have pushed a big block of ice out into the main Lake Michigan basin, north of Rock Island).
April 23

Green Bay's morning low temperature fell below freezing to 29° F.

N.O.A.A. reports that the Great Lakes are still about 1/3 covered with ice, the highest coverage for this late date since record keeping for this event began in the late 1970's. Lake Superior is still about 60% ice-covered.

April 22
  American hazelnut (Corylus americana) in flower (anthesis).
April 21
  Green Bay's high temperature of 69° F is the highest of the spring and highest since Oct 12 (191 days = 27+ weeks = over 6 months).
  Laona, about 80 miles NNW, still reports 2 inches of snow on the ground.
April 20

Some mosses are very conspicuous now.

Some quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) and a few of the earliest marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris) in flower (anthesis).


Wood Frogs singing, Town of Waukechon, Shawano County (Joel Whitehouse).

First Chipping Sparrows at our feeders.

April 19

First suckers (fish) have begun to spawn in one of the two local local streams I check.

Woodchuck out and about, Brown County.

Spring Peepers calling in Waukechon Township, Shawano County (Joel Whitehouse).
April 18

Heard Spring Peepers at my house for the first time tonight, Brown County, Suamico (Kathryn Corio).

Wood frogs calling, Garter Snakes out, Mourning Cloak butterfly and a deer tick, Brown County, Town of Scott (Erin Giese).

Wood Frogs, Spring Peepers and Chorus Frogs and Northern Leopard Frogs all calling (not necessarily all at any one site), Town of Howard (Tom Prestby).

  The City of Green Bay area is essentially free of snow now, except for isolated patches where plowed, drifted or shaded. And Green Bay as seen from the UWGB shoreline is ice-free from the tip of Point au Sauble west to the Cat Island road.
April 17

Sandhill Crane on the UW-Green Bay campus this morning (Tom Erdman).

Another day with at least a trace of snow in Green Bay. There are reports of 5 inches of new snow this morning and a standing snow depth of 14 inches at Laona, about 80 miles NNW of UW-Green Bay. Some local schools are closed today in this area.

  The nearshore ice at UWGB is nearly gone and will probably disappear before day's end, but Green Bay is still mostly ice-covered. What appears to be a vast expanse of open water from shore is only a tiny sliver on the satellite photo. There is also open water farther north where winds have blown sheets of ice from the Bay out into the main Lake Michigan basin north of Rock Island at the tip of Door County.
April 16
Prairie Pond on UW-Green Bay, and other ponds in City of Green Bay, are fully ice-covered this morning as temperatures persisted in the 20's overnight (low of 23°F). It melted during the day, however.
  There was a vigorous though short snow flurry at UW-Green Bay beginning about 9:35 a.m. We have had at least a trace of snow on 6 of the 16 days of April to date. However, we fared better than northwestern Wisconsin where Grantsburg in Burnett County received 13.5 inches of snow today and many locations in that area received in the range of 12 inches of heavy wet snow. And more snow is falling there. Up to 19 inches of snow was reported in part of Minnesota.
April 15
A morning low temperature of 19° F added to the winter-like appearance in Green Bay as much of yesterday's snow remains. The high temperature rose only to 33° F, and that for less than an hour.
And about 2/3 of UW-Green Bay's Prairie Pond is re-covered in ice this morning.
April 14
deer uwgb Green Bay shoreline Baird Creek Baird Creek
Green Bay received 3.5 inches of wet, heavy snow this morning, beginning about 3 a.m. and continuing past 8:00 a.m. Local trees were covered with a thin layer of ice and then a thicker layer of snow, and I could hear the coating of ice cracking as larger trees bent and twisted in the wind. A few photos are included to capture the look and feel of the day--the first 3 at UW-Green Bay and the other two at Baird Creek Park.
April 13

Not a great day for many types of outdoor recreation, but a good day to watch waterfowl. We've really enjoyed watching the Red-breasted Mergansers that have been almost constant visitors on the nearby pond in Allouez for the last several days.

First earthworm I've seen up this spring, Outagamie County, Shiocton area.

Near Shiocton in Outagamie County the birds weren't especially numerous, but still fun to see Tundra Swans, Sandhill Cranes, Hooded Mergansers, Ring-necked Ducks (photo) and lots of Northern Shovelers among others. Rain became heavier in the afternoon and snow beginning after midnight--see tomorrow's entry.
April 12

Two deer ticks reliably reported on a person in Brown County today. See other reports April 10.

First day Common Loon, Great Egret, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Winter Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Brown County, west shore Green Bay (Tom Prestby).

April 11
Mourning Cloak butterfly, Brown County (Mia Spaid). These are often among the earliest butterflies seen in the spring, because they can over-winter as adults, and need only a short period of warm weather to emerge [gf].
Numerous ducks on southern Green Bay, off the UW-Green Bay shoreline, including Scaup, Golden-eye and Common Mergansers.
April 10
I was surprised to see water striders out and about this morning--it seems a little cold even for these hardy guys. They have been out a couple of weeks earlier in some years, but that was in years of early spring.
Turkey vultures returned to our area in late March, and have become quite conspicuous in the last couple of days. This was one of four circling over UW-Green Bay's Cofrin Arboretum this morning.

What a difference a day can make. Compare this photo to yesterday's photo from about the same location. Keep in mind that the very low angle of view tends to greatly minimize the appearance of the vast area of surface that converted from ice-covered to open in just 24 hours. Most of the Bay is still ice-covered though.


There was a report on wisbirdnet today of "ticks" out in Oconto County, not specifying "wood" or "deer", and Tom Erdman reported ticks from Pensaukee, Oconto County, on April 6.

Calling Spring Peepers and Chorus Frogs reported in Outagamie County this morning.

April 9

There is still plenty of ice on Green Bay, but now you can see a little open water from UWGB, far in the background of this photo.

First day of flower (anthesis) for the earliest plants of speckled alder (Alnus incana) in City of Green Bay. The same plant first flowered April 16 last year.

April 8
Green Bay is still mostly ice-covered--about 95% to my eye based on satellite photo. There is a little open water at the extreme south end of the Bay where the Fox River enters, and more around Washington Island at the tip of the Door peninsula where ice has been broken off and floated east into the main basin of Lake Michigan which is more open. In this photo the portion that appears to be smooth in the foreground is water on top of the ice.
  First day Belted Kingfisher Brown County (Tom Prestby)
First day of flower for silver maple (Acer saccharinum). Over the last 29 years, this is the latest flowering date for this same tree. The previous latest was April 5.
April 7

Green Bay's high temperature of 62° F is the warmest temperature since October 12, 177 days (over 25 weeks--5 days short of 1/2 year).

First day on lower (southern) Green Bay for Blue-winged Teal, Northern Flicker, Estern Phoebe, Tree Swallow, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Fox Sparrow and Rusty Blackbird, Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve (Tom Prestby).

This deer looks a little gaunt, and much less wary than might be the case if it was well-fed. He was still there when I left after about 5 minutes.
This marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) plant is close to flowering. It is growing in a flowing spring which keeps the site much warmer than the adjacent swamp which is mostly still ice-covered and where no new growth of any plants is visible.

Small flock, 4-5 Eastern Phoebes working the two bridges at Pensaukee, Oconto County.  Ice jam at Cty S bridge and big ice jam on rapids and corner west of the RR Bridge. Also Ruffed Grouse were drumming all weekend (April5 and 6) along shore, Pensaukee, Oconto County (Tom Erdman).

April 6
  I saw the first garter snake of the spring today, much worn and colors very drab, Brown County. It seems too early, as cold as it has been, but he was out on a forest road, sunning about 1 p.m.
The melt water flow of Baird Creek has definitely fallen from its peak, but still remains high. Note the snow remaining in some parts of the forest. Laona, 80 miles NNW still has 17 inches of snow.
April 5
  Green Bay's high temperature of 57° F is the warmest since Nov 17, 139 days (about 20 weeks).
  Ice-cover came off the East River in our neighborhood late yesterday, making this the first ice-free day there. The ice was off farther down stream by about April 1.
Two Great Blue Herons returned to our local pond today, but it is still ice-covered and they sat in a shagbark hickory tree before eventually flying off, presumably to look for open water.
April 4
snow in woods There is general clearing of snow in open sites in Green Bay and the local NOAA weather station reports a snow depth of 0, but some forested sites are still snow-covered, as here at Baird Creek. Of course there is still snow wherever it was piled, plowed or drifted deeper and where it is heavily shaded. At Laona, about 80 miles NNW, there is still about 17 inches of snow on the ground and the forecast calls for about 6 inches more today!
sleet The daily forecast calls for rain, sleet and snow, with sleet shown here from this morning (Though the NOAA station for Green Bay is not showing sleet).
April 3

First Tundra Swans seen here, flying over UWGB in the morning (Tom Erdman). There were earlier reports of swans to the west in the Shiocton area and this afternoon about 3000 are reported there.

The water level in Baird Creek has receded a little in response to reduced snow melt during the last 2 days of colder temperatures.

  U. S. Coast Guard is reporting ice up to 6 feet thick on Lake Superior as they work to open a route into Marquette Harbor. No commercial vessels have yet passed through the "Soo Locks" at Sault Ste. Marie which is the access point to Lake Superior from the lower lakes.
April 2

First of year Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in the backyard, Bellevue (Joan Berkopec). Also in Allouez (Kate Hutton).

First day Ruddy Duck, Pied-billed Grebe, Horned Grebe and American Coot, Fox River Mouth (Tom Prestby).

time lapse for snow melt We are making progress toward spring, as shown in these photos at UW-Green Bay's Mary Ann Cofrin Hall from March 12 and April 2.

ice-covered puddle

However, it is not hard to find ice and snow widely in the area, and the shallow thawing of soil at the surface has refrozen overnight.
receding snowbank
April 1
spring flood at Baird Creek

Baird Creek is approaching the peak flood stage, though today's cooler temperatures will moderate that a little. Be advised that icy edges that slope to the fast-moving water make this an exceptionally dangerous time and place for children.

  Green Bay is still fully ice-covered, but Lake Michigan is now only about 1/3 ice-covered.

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Last updated on May 20, 2015