Friday, March 13, 2015

The Big Melt

Yes!! With several days of amazing, sunny, above-freezing weather (even highs around 50 recently, and today: rain), I think we've finally broken out of winter's ice-shell here in northeastern Ohio. This might even be the most dramatic thaw I've ever experienced. We've gone directly from two feet of packed snow and ice to muddy ground and running water in about a week. The stream behind our house is raging and brown. Most of the fields around here are basically pools. It's an incredible and sudden change, and I love it!

Two days ago and again yesterday afternoon, I took time to just wander around our yard and soak in the sun (and try not to soak my shoes too much in the process). It's amazing seeing American Tree Sparrows foraging on the bare ground:

What is that, grass?? Wow!

All of a sudden, a whole new cast of characters has shown up. Four big Turkey Vultures -- a species basically absent from northern Ohio in the winter -- passed low over our house this morning. And I was happy to see an Eastern Bluebird visiting our yard yesterday afternoon:

While I was wandering around during the past two afternoons, birds were almost constantly moving overhead. Killdeer -- another very recent arrival -- barreled past while calling loudly:

Several Mallards were moving around as well:

Flocks of blackbirds -- mostly Common Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds, as far as I could tell -- peppered the sky:

There are so many creatures shifting and moving right now, and this is only the beginning! (I'm eagerly awaiting the return of the Eastern Phoebes, who should be here any day now. And not long after that, there will be frogs, and wildflowers, and all sorts of green and singing things....) Hooray for spring, all the more welcome after what feels like the longest winter ever!

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