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The Return of the False Spring

This has been one of the mildest winters that I can recall and lately it feels like spring has arrived early. On February 27, we had a record high temperature of 72F. This broke the previous high temperature by 8F! Twenty four hours later the temperature had dropped by

50 degrees and strong winds had put the wind chill into the single digits.


Winter Aconite (February 23)

As I write this on March 3, we are looking at sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 50s. It feels very much like spring and I even saw a mourning cloak butterfly on the esker. But, no doubt winter will return again (even if just for a day or two).


The spring bird migrants seem to have responded to the warmer than usual weather by returning earlier than in previous years. The Table below includes the first date of each year on which a bird species was observed at Hogsback Acre.


First Observed Return Date - Spring Migrants

Species

2024

2023

2022

2021

2020

2019

Turkey Vulture

2-29

3-6

2-27

3-3

N/A

N/A

Wood Duck

3-1

3-5

3-8

3-19

3-18

4-4

Hooded Merganser

2-26

3-3

3-8

3-19

N/A

N/A

Sandhill Crane

2-10

2-10

2-21

2-26

N/A

N/A

American Robin

2-19

2-1

3-5

2-20

3-6

N/A

Red Winged Blackbird

2-21

2-26

3-2

3-3

3-9

4-13

Common Grackle

2-22

2-22

3-5

3-3

3-16

5-8


Hooded Mergansers (February 26)

On March 2, I put up a wood duck box at the Ingham Conservation District. It was an older box that needed a new roof and some TLC. I put up three boxes at the same wetland last spring and was happy to have successful duck nests in two of the boxes.




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