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Walking in Beauty

March 6, 2024

An early spring is in the air

The distinctive songs of robins and red-winged blackbirds returned along with the haunting aerial echoes of sandhill cranes.
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Monday, a bluebird perched on a post at Brennan Woods, encouraged by emerging insect life.

Daylight Saving Time starts this coming Sunday. The first day of Spring is Tuesday, March 19 – but wildlife does not follow a calendar.

This past Sunday night (March 3), I heard spring peepers. I keep track of the first frogs of the year in a nature journal.

In 2011, I heard frogs on March 19 while living in southwestern Angola. That year, I saw snowdrops along Ettinger Street on April 5, blooming despite the removal of all the trees from the edge of a former community park area. Years later, I met the lady who planted them, Roswitha Munger, whose husband Lynn “Doc” Munger was known in the Fremont area for his Heron Hill Nursery and Native American artifacts.

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I heard peepers for the first time on April 8, 2013 and then April 1, 2014 following an extreme winter. The peepers peeped on April 1, 2015 and March 9, 2016. In 2017, I heard a frog on Feb. 28 prior to severe thunderstorms and hail. I recorded March 18, 2018; March 21, 2019; mid-March 2020; March 22, 2021; and March 16, 2022. In an unusual observance last year, I documented the peepers on Oct. 18.

Spring peepers are small tree frogs, only about an inch long, but they have big voices. A good place to hear them right now is the wetlands across West Clear Lake Drive from the Clear Lake Yacht Club.

Rustling Grass newsletter reports the Blue Heron Ministries crew spotted painted turtles sunning themselves on pond-side logs in February.

“It is too early for spring,” it says, noting how the temperatures ping-ponged toward the end of last month, from the high 60s one day back to the 30s on the next.

At Clear Lake Township Land Conservancy preserves, little signs of spring started showing when the first snow melted. Now, fat buds dangle on tree limbs and the first flowers are emerging.

Welcome, Spring.
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– By Amy Oberlin
Land Steward

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