First Day of Spring?

Breaking Shelf Ice.
Breaking Shelf Ice.

March 20, 2014.  Our calendar says it’s the first day of spring.  The last few (and upcoming forecast) beg to differ.  Alas, it could be colder, like just weeks earlier.  For this date, there is still snow on the ground.  Sites farther back in the park, such as the Nature Center, still have several inches of slushy ice.  The shelf ice has not broken up yet, but now is a good time to see some of the ice caves melting, creating ice arches.

Today’s count was again under less than ideal conditions.  Robins posted their best flight to date, with 1,131 robins flying over today.  Two single birds that were noteworthy were both white today.  Just when we thought the Snowy Owl flight was waning, a single Snowy Owl was found early on the pack ice.  The gusty west winds pushed the ice east and the giant owl was lost, likely drifting through Beverly Shores sometime this afternoon.  The other white bird worth mentioning was a single Ross’s Goose that landed on the beach with a flock of Canada Geese.  We rarely log Ross’s Goose on the lakefront, so today’s Ross’s was exceptional.

Single Ross's Goose hiding among the Canada Geese on the beach today, March 20, 2014.  Photo by Brendan Grube.
Single Ross’s Goose hiding among the Canada Geese on the beach today, March 20, 2014. Photo by Brendan Grube.

The weather looks decent for a good flight tomorrow.  It may be the best of the week.  Cooler air will slide in Saturday and persist for several days.  Next week looks to be quite chilly for late March, with better conditions developing by late week.  Come out Friday if you have a chance.

Here are the highlights from today:

Ross’s Goose  1  
White-winged Scoter  29
Horned Grebe  10
Red-necked Grebe  1
Great Blue Heron  1
Bald Eagle  1
Great Black-backed Gull  1
Snowy Owl  1     
Pileated Woodpecker  1
American Robin  1131
Red-winged Blackbird  606
Common Grackle  552



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