The moon tonight

Frogs, fish, fowl, “green” haze and other notes on early spring.

There is perhaps 50 feet of open water between the shore and the rotting ice on Lake Phalen, or at least there was about 1 p.m. today and the wind and the sun was working on it pretty good.

Last year, Katie reported on April 20 seeing the “green haze” of new buds on the trees in the Mississippi River valley as she crossed the river on the I-35E bridge on her way home from work. For four years, such an observation was my tradition–I usually associate the first sighting around April 10–but my work and my commute changed in 2008 and she has assumed the duty. With this year’s abnormally early signs of spring, we’re curious when it will appear. Stay tuned.

Late yesterday afternoon, Gabe and I explored the flooded St. Croix around William O’ Brien State Park. There were rumors of roving schools of silver bass–not a usual target but a seasonal opportunity and enough to scratch an itch. We didn’t find the fish, but we heard two kinds of frogs in a wooded ephemeral pond–one kind, similar to spring peepers but I think slightly different, shut up as soon as we closed our car doors 20 yards away; another kind, which sounded like a bunch of clucking hens, kept going considerably longer, but went silent abruptly once we were within sight of their lair.

Pairs of Canada geese made all sorts of ruckus wherever we went. I saw a bluebird in a most atypical location, in flooded timber far from any field, and right near it were a downy woodpecker and the first red-winged blackbird of the year, silent yet. A bald eagle flew over us as we threw poppers from the earthen dam between Lake Alice and the St. Croix. The water was wide open and I was distracted by thoughts of canoeing.

The flooded St. Croix in March looking upstream from William O' Brien State Park

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