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Poor Will's Almanack: March 23 – 29, 2021

Whether it has been a warm or chilly Early Spring, much of north America has come alive with change.

Robins finally arrive in Minneapolis; between Tennessee and Wisconsin, red-winged blackbirds nest along the fencerows; night herons and plovers migrate into the Northeast where maple sugaring is in full swing; on the Platte River in Nebraska, sandhill cranes have assembled for their departure to Canada.

Monarch butterflies continue their migration, reaching as far as North Carolina by the end of the week.

In South Carolina, fragrant yellow jessamine is still in full bloom along the roadsides; loblolly pines are pollinating, live oaks are shedding; in Huntsville, Alabama, redbud trees and decorative pears bloom. Foliage is fully developed on the box elder trees in Laurel, Mississippi. Dogwood flowers are common below Hattiesburg; the undergrowth is completely green, and the high canopy is filling in.

Throughout New Orleans, daylilies and wisteria blossom; rice fields flower red and purple beside the Gulf; azaleas and pale yellow Cherokee Roses line the fences of Jekyll Island in southern Georgia.

In wilderness areas of the Southwest, late March brings the peak of wildflower season if rain has been sufficient. Golden corydalis, desert phlox, fiddlenecks, deer vetch, desert anemone, scorpion flower, and pincushion cactus are typically in bloom.

In the Rocky Mountains, moose and elk move to their spring feeding grounds. Red-tailed hawks and American bitterns arrive there as white phlox and sagebrush buttercup flower.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the first week of Middle Spring. In the meantime, stay home or hit the road; no matter where you are it’s spring.

Copyright 2021 WYSO. To see more, visit WYSO.

Bill Felker has been writing nature columns and almanacs for regional and national publications since 1984. His Poor Will’s Almanack has appeared as an annual publication since 2003. His organization of weather patterns and phenology (what happens when in nature) offers a unique structure for understanding the repeating rhythms of the year.