Approaching spring generally focuses on browns turning green. Any hint of a green tint can become a monumental step toward spring.
Noting and celebrating events aid too. Daylight Saving Time (March 11); turkeys gobbling; red-winged blackbirds’ liquidly, gurgling song from cattail marshes; and water noisily seeking lower terrain all help diminish brown until green dominates.
A quick woodland, field and waterway trek can verify there are several evergreen ferns now uncovered by recent sun and rain. Like most early greens, these show little growth with the exception of marsh cabbage (the skunk arum), which is in the midst of flowering.
Some invasives, including garlic mustard’s second-year shoot show green. Oodles of mosses and moss-like plants exhibit a hint of chlorophyll’s color, too, and are larger than the week prior. So, too, are watercress shoots.
Bald eagles are sitting low in their nest bowls, incubating an egg or two. Thirty-six days from beginning that egg-warming, the first yellow, fuzzy eaglet will take its first taste of carrion. One nest near Readstown, a few steps off US Highway 14, continues to have prime viewing because it’s in an evergreen white pine, not a broadleaf-producing cottonwood or oak.
As with other nesters, DNR’s Dave Matheys reported only the incubator’s “bald” head is showing unless it stands to leave or turn the eggs.
The Class ACT Charter School at Chequamegon High School has been working with their adviser, Paula Zwicke, Ed Kane of the Park Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, and two Wisconsin legislators, Sen. Janet Bewley, D-Ashland and Rep. Beth Meyers, D-Bayfield to add the ruffed grouse to Wisconsin’s list of state symbols.
Passing the grouse bill will make this animal the state’s small game bird.
Almost no one knew that Wisconsin had a state herb. Ginseng shows up as the last symbol to be crowned. With all the press about the cheese bill, somehow the ginseng bill slipped by unnoticed, even to DNR folks whose positions entail working with this plant’s management.
Eighty-four-year-old Jay Ford Thurston has authored and published another trout-fishing book, “Trout Central: 50 best Wisconsin driftless streams.” It is available from online book providers and through Thurston’s web page, www.trouttip.com.
Rep. Ron Kind D-WI, and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-WI, are still waiting for action on their bill, H.R. 4454, Chronic Wasting Disease Management Act, which would support state and tribal efforts to develop and implement strategies to address CWD in Wisconsin and other states.
One Dane County trout angler ventured out to test the waters on Iowa County’s Trout Creek last weekend after floodwaters receded. He was able to find and use an antique fishing stile to cross a barbed-wire fence to access state land to cast his spinners.
The spearing season for much larger fish, lake sturgeon, ended Sunday with about 950 fish taken from the uplakes and Lake Winnebago. Final reports and analyses of fish sizes, ages and stomach contents are forthcoming.
Turkeys and deer continue to use harvested corn and soybean fields to obtain grain to supplement browse. While deer are becoming more docile, gobblers continue to elevate the notice of hunters with their fanning, strutting and gobbling.
Most of the recent interesting weather, including high water, had minimal impacts on wildlife, vegetation and fishes. Still, all life would be more docile if March is more lamb-like than mountain lionish.