Saturday, March 4, 2017

Confused Winter Weather

This is my first winter in central New York, so I don't know exactly what the winters here are supposed to be like. But having lived in other not-too-distant locations, I have some guesses about what a normal winter should be like, and I'm fairly certain that this one is not it.

When I last posted, in late January, we'd had more than a week of warm, wet weather, and no snow. Well, the snow did return soon after that, and it stuck around for a while. We never had more than a few inches on the ground at a time -- never enough to get out my snow shoes -- but it did make for some nice wintry scenes. I especially enjoyed seeing the dark fertile fronds of Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis) sticking up out of the snow like flags at the Roy H. Park Preserve on January 30:

And then it got warm again, the snow melted, and it started feeling decidedly spring-like! On the afternoon of February 24, we walked walked along the fields near our home wearing sweatshirts:

A very handsome American Robin was foraging among the dead leaves and wet ground, and it perched on a convenient rock long enough for a photo. I've never noticed such a perfectly clean dotted-line ring around a robin's eye before. What a beautiful bird:

On the same walk, I thought I heard a Killdeer calling, although I never saw it, and I definitely heard a lone Spring Peeper peeping. And things just kept getting more spring-like. I heard a whole chorus of peepers a few days later. Red-winged Blackbirds showed up and started calling. Bulbs were sprouting up in gardens.

And then yesterday... snow and frigid temperatures returned. Today was sunny but with a high of 16 degrees F (and a blasting wind that made it feel close to 0). This might actually have been one of the coldest days of the whole winter. The fields that looked so much like a prelude to spring a few days ago are now white again. They're still beautiful, though, especially with that strip of blue sky:

I hope the daffodils in our yard will be able to handle this weather roller coaster:

I love winter, but this has been a very strange season, and now that I've had a taste of spring I'm ready for winter to be finished. March means the start of growing greenery and flowers and birds and amphibians.... Here we go!

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