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April 6, 2013

Birds are also awaiting spring's warmth

As the weather finally turns a bit milder this weekend, some of the early spring migrants are trickling into our area. A few egrets and ibis are showing up in area marshes. Ospreys are arriving and, hopefully, pairs will return to the osprey poles on Plum Island and in Salisbury.

Wilson’s snipe are showing up in the fields along Scotland Road in Newbury. Flocks of robins are finally carpeting our lawns. Hummingbirds are still a couple of weeks away, or more, with a few being spotted as far north as Maryland and Pennsylvania. And it won’t be long before the first early warblers appear in our woodlands.

Most migrants arrive on southwest winds, often thought of as the warm wind direction. But I remembered that not all of us are longing for those warmer spring days. I dug out an old column from six years ago that Doug Chickering of Groveland wrote.

It was a similar early spring as we are having this year, with cold and snow persisting through March. Doug presented this alternative point of view concerning the weather, just after a March snow storm:

“Wouldn’t you know it. Just when the end of winter seemed right on the horizon; just when the daylight was seeping into what used to be night, and just as the blanket of snow in the backyard is retreating into the shadows at the edge of the woods, the bad weather returns. Snow is again predicted for tonight. Is it going to be one to three inches? Or two to four? Or perhaps more? This is not known. What is known is that it is a little discouraging. When can we put away that snow shovel?

Yet in the face of an oncoming March storm, I can’t help but think it might be worse. It might be a March blizzard. Or even worse it might be a March heat wave. Believe it or not the only thing that would depress my enthusiasm more than snow, would be temperatures in the high 80s or 90s.

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