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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 2006

Mar 30

Several thousand Tundra Swans are now scattered along the west bayshore of Green Bay from at least Oconto southward, Oconto County, Pensaukee area (Tom Erdman).

Woodcock and Saw-whet Owls were calling at dusk, although he din of swans made it hard to hear! Oconto County, Pensaukee area (Tom Erdman).

The first spring peepers started about 8 pm and were followed by wood frogs two hours later, Oconto County, Pensaukee area (Tom Erdman).

A great egret was feeding on the Pensaukee River east of Cty S bridge this morning, Oconto County, Pensaukee area (Tom Erdman).

Mar 29

Leopard frogs out, though very sluggish. Tundra swans along Green Bay's west shore, Brown County (Heather Gentry and Shelley Nowak).

Song sparrows have been back a couple of days, but are very conspicuous today (City of Green Bay).

The ice went off prairie pond today on UWGB's Cofrin Arboretum. It had nearly melted off in the warm period of about March 10-14, but colder weather returned and established firm ice again.

Mar 28 First sighting of white swans on Little Turtle Lake 12 miles North of Bemidji, MN. (Don Josefson).
Mar 27 Chorus frogs calling, mid-day, in inundated shallow marsh, Kewaskum, Washington County (Mark Franz).
Mar 26 This is the first day for Water Striders (see middle photo above) on UWGB.
Mar 25 The first flowers of Acer saccharinum (silver maple) began dispersing pollen today in the city of Green Bay. This same tree has an average first flower date of March 25 over the last 21 years and the date has been exactly March 25th 3 of the last 4 years. You may be tempted to conclude from this data set that March 25th is the "normal" date for first flower, however the date has ranged from March 6 through April 5 during this period (31 days). In fact most items of phenology have ranged over 4 or 5 weeks during the period of this study.
Mar 23 There was a light covering of snow this morning in Green Bay. The airport reported 0.1 inch, but it was enough to whiten streets and driveways. Temperatures rose into the mid-30's and the snow quickly melted.
Mar 19

The earliest plants of Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage) began to flower (pollen released) today, City of Green Bay. These early plants are in springs where the flowing water prevents the soil from freezing. Other plants, not in springs, may not flower for 2 or 3 weeks more. As I have mentioned in the past, the populations of skunk cabbage have declined significantly in all the places in which I regularly see them. This may be in large part because the ground water seems to be depleted in the springy areas. Springs that I have visited each year for over 20 years are at the lowest flow during that period--including the serious drought years of 1987 and 1988. The skunk cabbage plants also seem to be affected by a disease in recent years.

Although the ice went out on the East River on March 13th, a thin shell of ice re-formed overnight (March18/19). Ordinarily, ice would not have formed because of the flowing water of the river, but most melt water has already passed through the system and we have had virtually no precipitation in the last 12 days so there is no perceivable flow in the river in its lower reaches. The ice quickly melted as the temperature rose later in the morning.

Mar 18 I have received several reports of returning Robins, but this is the first day that I saw flocks of Robins in the fields near our house.
Mar 16 Although a major winter storm was forecast for today with 6 to 8 inches of snow for the Green Bay area, we received only a trace of snow. I haven't heard any complaints.
Mar 14 Eastern Chipmunk in Shawano (Joel Whitehouse).
Mar 13

The winter ice went out on the East River today, Beaupre Street, Allouez, Brown County. The average date over the last 21 years is March 22. It became ice-covered last November 24.

Eastern chipmunk out and about, Lakewood, WI Oconto County (Steve Janke). Last year the chipmunks were first reported at this site on March 22.

Mar 12

Although the temperatures remained in the 30's this morning, it was sunny and the birds were quite vocal: Red-winged Blackbirds, Cardinals, Crows.

American Robin, Red-winged Blackbird, and Sandhill Crane in Elton, WI Langlade County (Steve Janke).

Sandhill Cranes at Shawano (Joel Whitehouse).

There have been no flowering plants yet, but many species have begun to grow, including mosses and liverworts on raised surfaces such as fallen trees, stumps, etc. Also the new leaves of some overwintering plants are clearly emerging. One example is the common yard plant Matricaria discoides (pineapple-weed). Click here for more photos and information concerning this species.

Mar 11

Red-winged Blackbirds have returned in flocks, with a few Common Grackles, Brown County, Village of Allouez marshes along the East River. The average date of return to the East River marshes is March 9, over the last 21 years.

I saw a couple of small flocks of Sandhill Cranes flying over the City of Green Bay.

Snow continues to melt rapidly, as shown in these three photos 3/06, 3/9, 3/11.

Red-winged Blackbirds and Robins are now common and vocal. Also had our first local Sandhill Cranes and Song Sparrows. Sunny with a high today of about 50 degrees, resulting in a great decrease in snow cover, Town of Cooperstown, Manitowoc County (Joel Trick).

Mar 10 After several cloudy and foggy days in Green Bay we experienced a bit of sunny weather today and mild temperatures continue. The temperature has not fallen below freezing since the morning of March 7th and melting snow has now produced puddles and small streams in the streets-- a welcome sign of spring, to me at least.
Mar 09

The snow has been rapidly melting in Green Bay, as evidenced by this pair of photos taken three days apart on UWGB. Fog is also prominent in Green Bay again today.

WI DNR reports that most ski and snowmobile trails are closed in the souther two thirds of the state. Northern lakes are still reporting good ice-cover (16-20 inches), but as always caution is advised

Mar 08 Small flocks of returning Red-winged Blackbirds and Grackles on the west shore of Green Bay, Ocont County (Tom Erdman).
Mar 07

The buds of Acer saccharinum (silver maple) are clearly swollen. It won't take much warm, sunny weather to get them to begin flowering.

Considerable fog near the bay of Green Bay this morning.

Mar 06 Beginning yesterday and ending today, Green Bay received 2.8 inches of snow.
Mar 05 A single male red-winged blackbird seen this afternoon, occasionally singing, Town of Cooperstown, Manitowoc Co. (Joel Trick).
Mar 01

A little snow and also rain in Green Bay. March is a month of transition here.

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Last updated on April 15, 2014