Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Day of Firsts

The sun came out and the sky turned blue around noon.   The temperature hit a record 66º.

After a week of chilly gray weather, it was as though someone flipped the "What Season Is It?" switch from "winter" to "spring."  Ironic we should have such great weather on the day we set the clocks ahead one hour.

A wonderful welcome to daylight savings time!

The sky was full of bugling Sandhill Cranes, aerial duets of Bald Eagles, and the conk-ker-ees of Red-winged Blackbirds.

I spotted a huge turtle, looking dazed as it pushed through the muck along the Chippewa River State Trail a mile north of Tarrant Park in Durand.  

Willow buds were bursting full of silvery pussy toes and wine-red skunk cabbage flowers pushed though the muck on both sides of the trail.

Winter Crane Flies were swarming all over the Little Bear Creek bridge.  These harmless diptera (true flies) are often seen on warm, sunny winter days.  The short-lived adults live to breed.  They're snack food for birds, amphibians, spiders and other insects.  The larvae live in the leaf litter and help break it down into soil.

On the way back to the parking lot, a surprise find...

A dead mouse, just down the trail from where I turned around.  How I missed it was a mystery.  It wasn't "fresh," but it hadn't been mauled.  Maybe a fox or a raptor dropped it?

Later in the afternoon, we headed over to Silver Birch County Park to check out the tree buds.  I slammed on the brakes when I spotted my first of the year mourning cloak butterfly flitting along side the still-frozen lake.

No doubt about, today was the first day of spring 2010.

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