Thursday, 10 March 2016

Return of the Red Winged Blackbirds

I was lying in bed half awake at about 4:30 this morning, when I thought - Was that a red winged blackbird I heard? No, I decided. It's too early, surely. But when I woke up again at 8:00 they were in full reedy warble outside my window. 

This is the 8th March I've had this blog, and in 6 of those years I have recorded the day the red winged blackbirds return. To me they are the moment winter turns the corner into spring, and unlike as with many birds, there is rarely any question about it. They must come up in big flocks, because one day they are not here and the next day they are all over. It's not necessarily the end of bad weather, but I always feel the worst is over once they are here. And I have to say, looking at the forecast, that I think this year the worst is over. In fact I'm a bit afraid it's going to get hot, fast.

Two days ago we still had a foot of snow lingering from our last (only, really) big snowfall of the year. Now it is just patches on the bare ground.

This is indeed the earliest I have ever recorded the red winged blackbirds coming back; the next earliest being March 15th in 2015, and the latest being March 30th in 2014. This is a little misleading though; for some reason I did not record their return in 2012, and that was the year it was so warm we planted peas on March 19th. They would have been back well before then, I would think. I also didn't record their return in 2013, as we were away in Turkey until well into March. Otherwise, the idea I have in my head that their average return date is March 17th holds up fairly well.

In 5 days we are going to start our onions, leeks, celery, celeriac, and peppers; a week later the tomatoes will be started. The new gardening season is upon us!


Marnie said...

I saw a ladybug flying around yesterday, and when I peeked under a sedum I found the sprouts up and ready to go. It's coming ...

Ferdzy said...

It is! It is! I saw a ladybug too; also lotsa flies already, hmmm.

JennaMF said...

I think we're quite a bit North of you so here I watch the Robins and I just saw one today! Don't know how he'll find his warms with all this snow.
Wanted to tell you that I keep going through your recipes for daily and recently party cooking inspiration. So far I've tried Smorgastarta, pizza mushrooms and tzatziki cucumbers and all amazing - thank you!

Ferdzy said...

Yeah, I've seen a few robins. They actually stay around here all winter in small numbers, so seeing one is less definitive than the RWBs. I also saw the first vulture this weekend, but that was in Port Colborne. They aren't here yet. (The first vulture of spring! Awwww...) Where are you, Jenna (don't need the address; a vague description is fine!) We had a foot of snow about a week ago, but it has gone very fast.

I'm glad you are enjoying the blog and the recipes! I love hearing that.