Archive for March 1st, 2009

March arriving like a lamb

March arriving like a lamb

There is a well-loved verse by Oliver Herford that reads “”I heard a bird sing In the dark of December A magical thing And sweet to remember. ‘We are nearer to Spring Than we were in September!’.” It’s true. But the fact remains, there is still a whole lot of winter to be dealt with when one is in December. Now March, March is another story! Whatever winter still has in store for us, we can cope with it knowing that Old Man Winter is losing his grip and soon spring will prevail.

March arrived as a clear, sunny day, crisp at -14 C as I write this at 10 AM, but nevertheless beautiful. I took a walk to look for signs of the changing days. One obvious difference is the length of the days. While at the December solstice the sun rose at 7.40, today I had to be up by 6.41 to catch the sunrise. On December 21st, the sun set at 4.23 PM, while today sunset will be 5.50 PM. Our hours of sunlight have increased from 8 hours and 42 minutes to 11 hours and 9 minutes. Hooray!


The river, opened by the February thaw, hasn’t completely frozen over, in spite of -15 daytime and -20 C overnight temperatures. The greater warmth of the sun melts the snow into muddy puddles, even on cold days.


The buds of the aspen trees are beginning to open into the first catkins of spring.


The male redpolls visiting the feeder are sporting bright raspberry breasts as the breeding season draws nearer. Adult redpolls undergo a complete molt once a year after the breeding season, and start the winter in fresh plumage. As the year progresses, the buffy or greyish feather edges gradually wear off, resulting in the males taking on a redder appearance in the spring without a second molt. Another happy sign that we have survived another winter. Welcome March!


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