Sunday, March 13, 2016

March 13, 2016

The warm winter continues;  how does 68 degrees on March 7th sound?  The snow is gone, and the ice is already soft and translucent with open water around many of the edges of Lake Wicwas. 

Warm, humid weather took it's toll on the ice, which in turn used its stored-coldness to condense the damp air in its presence as if to say "you're not supposed to be here yet".
The battle zone between winter and spring

The first shoots of green are coming up weeks ahead of schedule. 
Fresh green shoots already appearing

And I saw the second summer insects of the year (the first were moths at the windows a couple of weeks ago).
A newly hatched spider enjoying the warmth of a black mailbox

Last year at this time we had a couple of feet of snow on the ground and people were out on the ice well into April. 
Same day, one year ago
My last trip on the ice this year was on March 8th, when I measured 4" of clear ice under 6" of white ice.  Now there's nothing but mush on the surface, and I won't be surprised if we have the earliest ice out ever.  Did you hear that in Alaska, in order to run the Iditarod dog-sled race they had to truck in snow?

We have taken in all the bird feeders except for one, and that one comes in every night to keep the bears away - they will certainly be on the prowl for food soon if they aren't out already.  A usual early sign of spring is the first yellow goldfinch, but this year they are well behind the times.
A still-brown goldfinch peruses the softening lake

Sugaring season also started early, as did mud season, which is passing quickly since the frost never had a chance to penetrate very deeply in the earth.

Collecting maple sap beside Lakeland School with Lake Wicwas in the distance
Not only are the poor maples drilled to drain their blood, but they also have to suffer mud season postings

Snow is the best surface for tracking animals, but mud season can also be good, leaving evidence that the deer are out and moving around.
Deer are leaving their mark in the season

I would normally be saying about this point that old man winter is starting to lose his grip on the lake.  But this year, he never really got a hold of it!
What's left of winter on Lake Wicwas as seen from the boat ramp on Chemung Rd

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