March 12 was promising to be a somewhat mild day—at least milder than we have had during the last week or so. Temperatures were forecast to rise into the 50s. It was about 7:30 a.m. when I went …
March 12 was promising to be a somewhat mild day—at least milder than we have had during the last week or so. Temperatures were forecast to rise into the 50s. It was about 7:30 a.m. when I went out to the car to grab a notebook, and not too long after I got outside, I heard geese calling. Lots of geese. I saw the first batch, perhaps 50 or so, flying in a wedge formation. They were low, and because of that, they were noisy. More skeins of geese were seen soon after, almost as low. Every day while outside, I’ve been hearing northbound flocks of geese, most of them higher up.
Spring is here, and so are some of its sights and sounds. March and the first part of April can be unpredictable weather-wise, but average temperatures are slowly rising as the days get longer. As lakes and ponds start thawing out, waterfowl return, and many of them start their breeding cycle at this time. The quack of mallards and the softer murmuring of common mergansers are first heard as the ice breaks. Buffleheads, the smallest ducks in the region, can be seen as they stop for a few weeks on their way north to the high latitudes of Canada.
Birds are not the only creatures making their presence known during the vernal equinox. Near wetlands or small ponds, spring peepers are the first amphibian callers. In some ponds, they are closely followed by wood frogs with their quacking calls; some wood frogs may even be spotted on an ice shelf next to open water in their quest to find a mate and breed. Both of these species may utilize vernal ponds; they are full during spring but dry out with the arrival of summer. These frogs start breeding as soon as the thaw occurs so that their tadpole offspring develop into froglets before these ponds dry up.
The signs of spring are always uplifting. The start of new life is inspiring after the cold winter. It is the season of hope. Enjoy.
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