Spring is Here!

I’m not sure if we can chalk it up to climate change, but spring arrived early this year.
Minnesota is famous for an endless winter that often extends into May. So worried are we about the unpredictable weather in my fair state, we long-timers recommend that you hold off your “Spring Planting” until Memorial Day. My Californian family mocks me when I state such things, but it is the reality of living due north.

But this was not “the way” for 2010! A warming trend began in early April and we have had nothing but great weather since. While I now feel a tad embarrassed about all of my winter whining, I know that the wonderful weather is an ephemeral blip in time.

As a way to embrace this rare and early spring, I decided to visit a nearby heron rookery on the St. Croix River. The rookery resides on an island between Wisconsin and Minnesota and access to the colony requires a boat. Mid to early April precedes the “leaf-out” of riverine cottonwoods (Populus deltoides) and is an ideal time to see nest building behaviors.

Canoes are a wonderful way to visit sensitive aquatic habitats. We set off in pre-dawn light and paddled the short distance to the island rookery. Positioning the boat within a cattail marsh, I had pleasure to capture the movement and flight of these giants as they descended onto their nesting platforms. While photography from a canoe can be quiet a challenge the rewards are definitely worth the effort.
Welcome back Spring!

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