Monday, March 02, 2009
"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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