March 2012 Highlights
The mild winter ended with the warmest March on record. The average temperature for Milwaukee was nearly 5 degrees higher than the previous record. Consistent temperatures in the 70′s and 80′s caused early blooming and leaf out, frogs to start calling and birds to arrive record early. Several record early arrival dates were broken, some by two weeks or more. These records need to be approved by the Records Committee before becoming official. New early arrival dates include Pine Warbler and Louisiana Waterthrush in Iowa, Dunlin and Lincoln’s Sparrow in Milwaukee, Savannah Sparrow in Waukesha and Marsh Wren in Columbia. Also, record early Franklin’s Gull and American White Pelican in LaCrosse.
The waterfowl movement was well underway when the month began. A strong flow of winds from the southwest brought in warm temperatures and excellent goose numbers. Ross’s Geese were seen in good numbers across the state. Several flocks numbering 15-20 individuals were seen at a few locations. Snow Geese have been harder to find in recent years but they were common and widespread. Some flocks totalling over 100 were observed. 2-3 Harlequin Ducks were found in Milwaukee and all 3 scoters were quite cooperative and seen close to shore there as well. A Purple Sandpiper in Milwaukee was an especially nice find in spring. Two Snowy Owls lingered in Milwaukee and several northbound birds were seen in Ashland.
The balmy temperatures gave everyone spring fever but the true neotropical migrants will not arrive for a few more weeks. Let’s hope we are able to see them with the early leaf out.
by Mark Korducki
Posted: April 5th, 2012