Monday, January 25, 2010

Spring comes earlier every year

So as I was working in the office this afternoon, David Pavlik called and asked me if I would like to see a White-fronted Goose! Why of course not?!
The goose was wandering around in the slushy, mostly melted city compost yard right along Lake Superior. It was associating with a couple of Mallards, and and on the far side of the yard, I saw more Mallards and 4 Canada Geese. There had been two Canada Geese attempting to over-winter in town, but one had an injured wing and was not part of the flock.

Greater White-fronted Goose- 25 Jan 2010, City of Marquette Compost Yard

Here in Marquette, January roared in, but the last few weeks have been mild, mostly snow free, and in the last couple of days- raining!Lots of warm south winds; it looks like late March around town. I was even joking about finding my first meadowlark of spring on the bare grasses along the lake.
I do think the both species of geese are representative of the first spring migrants to the Marquette area, and connected to the movement of White-fronts recorded in north Illinois yesterday. In Wisconsin there were several reports of Northern Pintails as well.

This is somewhat similar to an event that happened last winter in the Great Lakes that saw a late December thaw, followed by a northward movement of Northern Pintails, White-fronted Geese and other waterfowl. Here is a link to Ed Brinkley's essay The Changing Seasons from North American Birds. Scroll down to page 8 of the PDF and 213 of the journal for the section titled False Spring.

Weird weather for Superior, its a little too springy for my linking. Of course I can't help but think of last years oddball sighting for the mid-winter thaw!

Barn Swallow- 10 Feb 2009 (!), Lower Harbor of Marquette

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