I’ve been so busy enjoying spring that I forgot to write on the Vernal Equinox! Now the days are longer than the nights and will continue lengthening until the Summer Solstice (June 21). The sun’s path also continues to get higher in the sky (which also peaks on the Summer Solstice).
I’ve been seeking out all things spring, with mixed luck. I’ve regularly been checking Minnehaha Park for bluebirds (this is usually the first place I see them each year) but no luck so far. Yesterday we went to Lock & Dam #1 and I saw my first Turkey Vulture of the year. I didn’t quite have that on my radar yet (I was looking for ducks) so I was pleased.
On the way to Cokato today I saw several Red-Winged Blackbirds, that quintessential harbinger of spring. Nothing says spring marsh so loudly as the conk-la-ree! call of the Red-Winged Blackbird. I had been checking the duck pond regularly for these early arrivals, but perhaps the urban variety are laggards.
Birding by car is not the most fruitful method, as there are only so many birds you can recognize at 60 miles an hour. Happily, Pied-Billed Grebes are one of those birds, and I saw two of them riding low in the water in one of the many large ponds marking the roadscape of Highway 12. Pied-Billeds are our most common grebe, and they are cute as a button. A happy-making bird.
The only other notable sighting on the road was a Red-Tailed Hawk and a singular goose. I tried really hard to make that singular goose into a Snow Goose or a Greater White-Fronted Goose. It was cloudy and gray, the lighting was bad. It didn’t look EXACTLY like a Canada Goose, so one always goes in search of a more interesting alternative. But in the end, I couldn’t really imagine that it was anything other than the ubiquitous Canada Goose.
I’m still checking for the bluebirds. Also expected in the next week or two: scaups and coots, Great Blue Herons, Double-Crested Cormorants, Sandhill Cranes, and lots of ducks.
Outside of bird world: I saw my first chipmunk of the season a week or so ago. We have a couple of resident chipmunks (much to my dismay they are little vacuum cleaners on the bird trays and they are very agile with climbing) but I haven’t caught sight of either of them yet. Nor have I seen the vole (though I don’t usually expect to unless I am spending time outside paying attention but not paying attention). The lilacs have buds and the rhubarb is still emerging (and I keep piling the leaves back on top to keep it warm overnight). Some trees have buds.
The sun is higher in the sky.