||Observation (Click on links for photos)
Great Egrets, Eastern
Phoebes and first Leopard Frogs heard
this year, even though most of the small ponds were iced over!!
Rock County (Andy Paulios).
First flicker, eastern phoebe, and
field sparrow; fox sparrows common, Town of Cooperstown,
Manitowoc Co. (Joel Trick).
Thin ice re-formed
on many local ponds and puddles, Brown County (Matt Welter and others).
Snow flurries throughout
the day and some brief periods of heavy snow. Numerous people were
viewing returning waterfowl in the Shiocton area where the Tundra
Swans, Canada Geese, Sandhill Cranes and many
ducks were readily viewable in the large, open weltands.
Rhinelander had low temperature of 7 F!!
Green Bay's low was 26 F.
First active Little Brown Bat, spotted in
the Neville Public Museum (Matt Welter).
About 3000 Tundra Swans near the Wolf River
(Shiocton area) yesterday, and smaller numbers on lower Green Bay
Rhinelander, WI received 6 inches of snow.
First day of flower for speckled
alder (Alnus incana, previously Alnus rugosa),
City of Green Bay. This species is often referred to as "tag
alder" in this area. It is typically a day or two later than
silver maple--more if the weather turns cold (Gary Fewless).
Common Loons, Pied-billed
Grebe, Madison (Andy Paulios).
Wild turkey gobbling,
town of Cooperstown, Manitowoc Co.(Joel Trick).
Killdeer, Elton, Langlade
County (Steve Janke).
First day of flower (anthesis) for silver
maple (Acer saccharinum), City of Green Bay. The
average date for this tree is March 25, ranging from March 6 to
April 5 (18 years) (Gary Fewless). This is the earliest flowering
individual of which I am aware, but others typically follow with
a couple of days.
After a long, drawn out process the ice is finally
gone from the East River at my usual site in Allouez. Later
in the day more ice blocks floated into the area from upstream,
but the local ice is gone. Removal of the ice was delayed by the
virtual lack of a spring flood stage and the shallowness of the
river which allowed the ice blocks to rest on the bottom in many
areas. Last year the ice came off 03/28. The average since 1986
is 03/23, the earliest was 02/24/1998(!) and the latest was 04/10/1996
Eastern Bluebirds now
back on territory, Town of Cooperstown, Manitowoc County (Joel Trick).
White Throated Sparrow,
City of Green Bay (Matt Welter).
The first Whooping Crane has returned to
Wisconsin, Dodge County.
The Prairie Pond on UWGB refroze last night
(but quickly melted later in the day).
Tree Swallow, Virginia
Rail, Rock County (Andy Paulios).
Song Sparrow, Elton,
Langlade County (Steve Janke).
Lower than average snowfall in the Great Lakes area
and an early snowmelt have contributed to higher fire dangers and
there are already several wildfires in Minnesota. The fires
are primarily in grassy habitats so far, but if dry weather continues
forest fires are a possibility. Wisconsin is also notably dry.
Flocks of Tundra Swans flying over the lower
Green Bay area; Eastern Phoebes back (Tom Erdman).
Honeybees out in large numbers, Oconto Co.
Pied-Bill Grebe, Horned
Grebe, Cormorant, Eastern
Meadowlark, Golden Crowned Kinglet, Lesser Scaup
and Woodcock, Riverside Trail, De Pere (Matt Welter).
First Song Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow,
Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Wood Duck.
Ruffed Grouse (drumming), Barkhausen Waterfowl Refuge, Brown
County (Matt Welter).
Butterflies: 1st Mourning
Cloak and Anglewing sp., Barkhausen Waterfowl Refuge, Brown
County (Matt Welter). - [These species overwinter as adults and
can appear virtually anytime there is a period of warm temperatures.
The "anglewing" is probably either a "question mark"
or "comma", both named for the appropriate mark on the
wing undersurface, requiring a good close look to be sure which
species it is. Anglewings have also been reported from Oconto County
over the weekend (gf).]
Mourning Cloak, Hammond, WI near St. Paul
Two Milbert's toroise shell butterflies chasing
T. of Cooperstown, Manitowoc, County (Joel Trick).
Northern Flickers, Eastern
Meadowlark, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Mourning Cloak
butterfly. Pied-billed Grebe (in the bay); in the open
water offshore there are many waterfowl, mostly Common Goldeneyes
(1000s) but Gadwall, Northern Pintail, Ring-necked
Ducks are also present in small numbers, Pt Au Sauble, Brown
County (Jon Reisenbiechler).
Red-osier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera)
bark which fades to a dull red over winter has begun to turn bright
red, City of Green Bay (Gary Fewless).
Pussy Willow (Salix Discolor) buds have begun
to open, Baird Creek area, Brown County.
This begins the phase during which people call them "pussy
willows", but in most years they do not actually flower until
April--on average about 2-3 weeks from now (Gary Fewless).
A few Tundra Swans (at least 8) have returned
to Brown County, Town of Scott (Bob Howe).
Ice is now totally
gone from Prairie Pond, UWGB.
Woodchuck out and about on UWGB.
We have a sizeable year-round Canada
Goose population in Green Bay and they have
become conspicuously more active over the last 10-12 days.
Over the last few years I've noticed that many skunk
cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) plants on the UWGB campus
appear to be suffering from a disease in the spring. The early emerging
flowers (a spherical collection of flowers inside a hooded structure
called a spathe) wilt
and die before producing fruit. The symptoms appear to be
similar to those associated with fungus related problems in other
plants, although that is just a guess. Some populations have declined
drastically in the last two years. Here's a comparison photo of
healthy and diseased individuals
from the March 15, 2001 phenology page, when I first noted this
Woodcock "peenting", Oconto County
Wisconsin DNR reports 2-3 feet of ice remain
on some northern Wisconsin Lakes. Ice fishing continues, although
there is water on top of the ice in some cases, from rain and melting
The "tapping" of maple trees for
sap to make syrup has begun.
Some Tundra Swans are back along the Mississippi
River in western WI.
First report of an Eastern Chipmunk out and
about, City of Green Bay (Amy Wolf).
Manitowoc County, Cooperstown (Joel Trick).
A few Marsh
marigolds (Caltha palustris) are close to flowering
in the springy sites where the soil doesn't freeze, Green Bay (Gary
Fewless). Other populations of Marsh Marigold may not flower for
several weeks--the latest sites as much as 5-6 weeks later in some
Pond is frozen again this morning.
13-lined Ground Squirrel out and about, Portage
County (Andy Paulios).
Significant rains predicted today and tomorrow
will probably cause some flooding and will certainly begin to move
out some of the remaining ice on local streams.
return, Langlade County (Steve Janke).
Many reports of Killdeer and
Sandhill Cranes in our general area yesterday and today.
The St. Lawrence Seaway will
delay its spring opening for shipping traffic for 6 days because
of the thick ice resulting from our cold March weather. It is the
first time in 44 years that the spring opening has been delayed.
The extreme low water levels of
Lake Michigan reflect the general balance of precipitation versus
evaporation in the watershed over the last few years. The drier
conditions, plus the relatively low snowfall this winter have contributed
to the Federal fire management experts prediction of higher than
average risk for brush and grass fires in our region this
New bird reports: Fox Sparrow, Brown County,
Scott (James P. Moore).
First American Robins in Langlade County
Rusty Blackbird, Brewer's Blackbird, Ring-necked
Duck, Fox Sparrow, Green-winged Teal,
all first noted in Rock County (Andy Paulios).
New returning birds: Song Sparrow and
Eastern Meadowlark, Manitowoc County (Joel Trick).
A few of the earliest Skunk
Cabbage plants in flower, UWGB. Most plants are barely
visible or not visible at all yet, but a few in the best
springy sites are in anthesis today (but none in my long term monitoring
site) (Gary Fewless). In these same spots, the basal leaves of American
willow-herb (Epilobium ciliatum) are also green and growing.
A few mosses on logs in
sunny sites have also produced their new spore-producing capsules.
I even saw a new mushroom
on a log (Gary Fewless).
Striders out (and mating) on Mahon Creek, UWGB (Gary Fewless).
They didn't show up until March 31 last year.
Ice off UWGB's prairie Pond (except for a
little floating remnant in the middle). If you have forgotten how
cold last spring was (2002), the ice didn't melt off the prairie
pond until April 7! Last year's March was exceptionally winter-like,
with a total of 17.1 inches of snow and the coldest temperature
of the entire winter (-13 F on March 4).
A big day for the return of Spring in the
Green Bay area -- a high temperature of 59F and sunny skies. A large
reduction in snow cover was noted widely and there is plenty of
running water in streets. Red-winged blackbirds returned
to the East River marshes in Allouez (Gary Fewless) and also in
Brown County, Depere (Matt Welter), Greenleaf (Kathy Grahek), Manitowoc
County (Joel Trick, Cooperstown; Jon Reisenbiechler, Centerville
Sandhill Cranes returned: Brown County, Neshota
Park (gf) and Manitowoc County, Cooperstown (Joel Trick).
Grackle and American Robin Manitowoc,
Cooperstown (Joel Trick), Brown County, DePere (Matt Welter), various
other sightings throughout the area. Killdeer by both above
reporters plus Kewaunee County (James P. Moore).
First song sparrow, Brown County, Holland
area (Matt Welter).
Brown-headed Cowbird, Brown County, Allouez
on Territory, Eastern Bluebird
back,Waushara County (Andy Paulios).
Eastern Chipmunk, Shawano Co (Joel Whitehouse).
As long as I'm listing spring phenology items a
couple of people-based phenology items were also noted. First day
for recreational bikers (not including those hardy souls who bike
all year round) and the first big backyard grilling day.
||First reports of returning
Red-winged Blackbirds in southern Wisconsin (wisbirdnet).
||A second warm day but still
not much sign of spring in the plants and animals. A few reports of
large flocks of horned larks along highways and I've heard of a few
reports of Sandhill Cranes in southern Wisconsin. If the predicted
warm weather arrives for this weekend, we will begin to see returning
birds very quickly.
||Today's high temperature of
38F may not sound like much, but it is a welcome change from recent
cold weather. There is conspicuous melting of the roads and the gusty
winds feel more like spring than winter. Green Bay.
||There have been reports in
the news media of complete or nearly complete ice cover on Lake Superior.
The very cold weather of late February and early March have accomplished
this feat that is rarely seen.
||It has only been about one
year since we first learned that deer in Wisconsin had been diagnosed
with CWD (chronic wastic disease).
||A few skunk cabbage
plants in springy areas have begun to emerge from the soil, although
they do not appear close to flowering yet. Skunk cabbage is notorious
for flowering extremely early in the year. See our photo
of the week for March 11, 2001 for a photo and discussion
of skunk cabbage.
level in Lake Michigan has reached the lowest level since
March of 1965. Changing water levels are primarily a natural function
of the balance between precipitation and evaporation in the drainage
Another 0.9 inches of snow and a low temperature
In spite of the snow, there is a report of a chipmunk
out in Door County (Charlotte and Roy Lukes via wisbirdnet).
||Warm temperatures were short-lived.
Low of -3F this morning and 0.4 inches of snow.
High temperature of 40F in Green Bay. Several more
skunks out and about.