Friday, March 01, 2013


It has already begun, this march to spring. I have heard the first killdeer. It squealed at Baby Dog and me this morning as we walked across the stone parking lot at Roundtop. The birds nest among the stones, and by April tiny balls of miniature killdeer fluff will be scurrying, almost invisible, around the lot. It is too soon, today, for nesting to begin just yet, but I think the birds are beginning to stake out their territory.
A friend is already reporting he is sick of the abbreviation FOY, which in electronic birding lingo means first of year. Birders reporting a new species seen in the current year frequently report the species is a FOY for them. March is the time when summer species begin to arrive. The killdeer was a FOY for me. I’m pretty sure I’ve already heard a FOY red-winged blackbird, but when I stopped to listen the call didn’t repeat so I didn’t record it.

This morning the light has improved with the clearing sky. The gloomy overcast is lifting. This winter has seen far too many low clouds and overcast skies for my liking. In years past I would have said they were untypical of winter days in this area, but the past several years have seen many like them, so perhaps gloomy overcast winter skies are no longer untypical. I hope these are only a momentary trend and not yet another sign of climate change.

February is over already, and though the last few days of the month were above normal in temperature, the month still finished out a full degree below average—below the average of the last 30 years, that is. If you discount the official “normal” espoused by weathermen and look at February temperatures over a longer time, 2013 is slightly above normal. The 1961-1999 average for February was 31 degrees, and adding in all the records I could find for Harrisburg, which are consistent back into the 1930’s before the data I found started missing some years, the average for February should be about 30.94. So this year’s average of 32 degrees is still above all that, if below the official “normal” of 33.



SHG said...

I understand that meteorological Spring arrives this weekend. Here at The 'Ville, we have flowers breaking through the ground, bushes that show signs of new life, more bird activity at dawn.

Scott said...

Sorry to add more FOYs, Carolyn, but we've had Red-winged Blackbirds regularly for about two weeks, here, and American Woodcocks began their spectacular mating flights on Wednesday evening.