There’s no doubt that this Spring has been one of the latest in arriving. Here in northern Minnesota the official date of March 20 means little, and Groundhog’s Day means nothing. But this year winter really kept her grip on things. Fishing season opens in eight days and the lakes are still mostly ice covered. Shaded areas still support deep banks of snow. The grouse have just started drumming at my place last week. There are a few woodcock around and they’re looking for someplace high and dry to nest.
This morning Gabi and I took a ride to check things out on the forest road near here. There’s nothing like driving east into the sun to notice how dirty the windshield is, but it didn’t seem to bother Gabi, always alert for activity. It was 29 degrees when I left the house, so the heater felt good. A big mug of coffee was delicious and morning public radio is usually pretty entertaining, sometimes enlightening.
The road took us to two lakes and approaching the first it didn’t seem like much was going on. There is some open water out from the shore but the main body is covered with rotting ice. Thanks to my 10x binocular I soon spotted a multitude of waterfowl. Mallards, ringnecks, blue-winged teal, Canada geese, ospreys, eagles, and the largest flock of trumpeter swans I’ve ever seen – probably 30 in one group.
On the way to the second lake a couple of healthy-looking deer crossed ahead and a grouse was out picking gravel from the road. In some places patches of snow still covered the road. The second lake is smaller, but deeper and showed less open water then the first.
Yes, Spring is slow coming, but sure is welcome.