Monday, March 02, 2009

March Transitions


"If March comes in like a lion it will go out like a lamb", so the old saying goes. Last year we had a big snowstorm on March 1st so the lion qualities of the day were unmistakable. A lion is fierce, strong, and can be frightening, and some of what I saw around here yesterday fit that description.

The temperatures were frigid and a strong wind blew out of the northwest. The windchill values ranged from -12 to -27 C yesterday even though the temperatures under the sun were -5 to -18 C. The Horned Larks were pecking in gravel on the sunny side of the road while the other shady side of the road still had snowbanks. Horned Larks are everywhere in the country right now but are journeying north to nest.

Another winter bird, the Rough-legged Hawk was hunting over recently exposed fields north of the city. Near Hawkesville ON we saw at least three pair of these Arctic hawks who have over wintered in the area. Like the Bald Eagles and Snowy Owls, these raptors will be headed much farther north by the middle of the month.

The legs of these large hawks are feathered all the way to their toes. Along the roadside, two of them hunted from hydro poles and I crept along the shoulder in the car to try and get a picture. As soon as I got near, they would fly to the next pole. I didn't want to aggravate them in their hunt for food so settled for one mediocre picture.

The March rivers are fearsome and the flood plains are littered with large pieces of ice as the waters broke through during a spell of mild, rainy days last week.

Near the hospital, the trails are inaccessible and huge chunks of ice have toppled signs and trail head markers.

I have not seen this much ice debris here for a long time. Many large old trees along the river here have been splintered and toppled like matchsticks by the ice.


The March lion is definitely on the prowl!

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30 comments:

  1. March is coming in like a lion here too! Love the photos, especially the hawk in flight!

    Let's hope this month goes out like a lamb because I have all that I can stand of winter. ;o)

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  2. March came in like a lamb here ... very mild with a warm wind ... the snow is shrinking ... the roof is dripping.

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  3. I love this selection of photos. They are wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Your hawk photos stirred a memory of us going to a spot on Lake Erie a number of years ago. I think it was called Hawk Point although I don't know if that was official. We went one afternoon when they were supposed to be migrating; alas, we saw neither hawk not human that day. Heard of it? Been there?

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  5. Impressive photos, all! Ice incursion is always a threat along our lakes and rivers!

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  6. We say for March:"Μάρτης γδάρτης και κακός παλουκοκάφτης". It means that althought we have Spring, March is a difficult month and we must be prepared for woods in the fire place.

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  7. Hi Ruth....that is most certainly the force of the lion.....I have never seen ice like that....amazing.....

    I love the hawk photograph....it is not often you see one from underneath the living subject....

    March came in like a lamb here....that really does make me nervous...the plants will start to bloom and grow and could be damaged severely if we have harsh frosts at the end of the month....

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  8. The ice chunks look pretty fierce.It is a sign that spring is on the way.
    Blessings,Ruth

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  9. Great shooting there! Ice sure played a number with the trails...
    Cheers, Klaus

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  10. It HAS been cold, hasn't it? I can't believe how red the red osier dogwood stems are where you are. Amazing! I tried to take a photo of some (not quite so colourful) yesterday but I gave up.

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  11. We say March Winds and April Showers. You really can see the changing taking place.

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  12. Anonymous4:58 pm GMT-5

    Hmm, learned something again (the saying about march) - ugh, I can imagine everyone wants those huge clumps of snow to be melted!

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  13. Jeannette St.G.4:59 pm GMT-5

    sorry, that was not anonymous -just clicked the wrong thing!

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  14. March enters with a storm, rain that we so badly need here in California.

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  15. That's semi-related the fox in sheep's cloth wise tale. The ice debris is impressive. As a "below the snow belt" hydrologist, that is one water cycle variable that sort of baffles me.

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  16. March came in like a lion in Florida,too.so,Spring must be close at hand.

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  17. That first photo has startlingly beautiful red color. And the hawk photo turned out well. I like how you caught him in flight.
    Hope your March goes out mildly and meekly, like a good little lamb.

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  18. Ice flows can be really destructve.-We had a river that in CT where the ice piled up and then wiped out a dozen houses along the river on the way down.-They now have ice breakers installed o break up the ice before it gets too big. I can see why they named it Hawkesville!

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  19. Oh wow..that is large ice..I am sorry about the damage. It is cold here, but we missed the snow for a change...Michelle

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  20. I'll take your "mediocre" hawk over my "robin that really looks like a toad up in a tree" anyday! It is frustrating to try and take their pics when they keep flying away - usually just out of reach (uh, pic reach, that is).

    Let's hope March goes out like a lamb. We had cold, but sunny weather for the first of March. Couldn't decide if it was a cold lamb or sunny lion.

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  21. Oh My...you sure are icey there...I love that first photo with the red stems of the shrub..

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  22. These are powerful images of the March lion. Such huge blocks of ice. Wow! Love that hawk closeup. I saw a Redtail today.
    March definately came in like a lamb here at 76F, 86F in Phoenix.

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  23. Spring is not afraid of the challenge of putting winter in its place!

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  24. Ruth,

    Yes, the March Lion is on the prowl and I'm hoping that means that the lamb will arrive around the 20th and we will have some warmer temperatures. Though the last few days have been bright and sunny, the wind was nippy and cut to the bone.

    Enjoyed your photos. I think the one of the hawk is awesome. We have some bald eagles here and some have also been spotted in Cambridge. Have you seen any?

    Enjoy your week.
    Blessings,
    Mary

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  25. It took ages and ages fr your photos tp load but I am glad i wated, they were truly beautiful especially the first.

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  26. Wow, I've never imagined chunks of ice doing that! Ugh. We've had a good bit of wind here in the past few days too. I noticed a huge oak had fallen at the National Cemetery I pass on the way to work. It was so sad to see. It must have been hundreds of years old. Hope the lion is tamed by the lamb soon. :c)

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  27. Thanks to all who commented.

    AC- Hawk Cliff is the place you mentioned at Lake Erie. A friend of mine took off work to go in the fall, but she felt she needed a scope to really see the birds. I will have to check it out.

    The first photo has been "Ortonized" on the photo editor so the dogwood red is bold.

    Mary- I have seen quite a few Bald Eagles along the Grand watershed this winter, just didn't have good photo opportunities

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  28. Your photos show impressive masses of ice! Here in the Netherlands the weather is like a lamb, very soft and rainy.

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  29. Wow those are some huge ice chunks! Love the piccies, especially the contrasts in the first. Birds are so hard to photograph!

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  30. Holy Cow Ruth, my ice chunks are puny compared to yours that are the size of buses!
    I hope you don't get any more flooding this spring.

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