Arb Sightings 3/25/10

Posted on March 25th, 2010 by

This first week of spring has been an atypical one. First, high temperatures in the mid-60’s are more characteristic of mid- to late April than they are of late March. And second (a BIG second), there isn’t any snow in the upcoming forecast, which means we’re very likely to get through the entire month of March without any measurable snowfall! As March is generally the snowiest month of the year in Minnesota, we have never had a March without snow in the history of the state, and thus we are on the verge of a record.

As the unseasonably warm temperatures have remained fairly consistent (and the forecast calls for a continuation of this trend), most of the remaining snow cover has melted, which means the state’s rivers have either already crested or are soon to crest. Earlier this week the Minnesota River in St. Peter reached its peak height; while the Hwy. 99 bridge across the river on the north side of town was closed last Saturday, the Hwy. 22 bridge on the south side of town remained open. North and south of town along Hwy. 169, however, the water level nearly reached the road on both sides of the highway and even caused a lane closure a few miles north of St. Peter. Barring significant rainfall during the next week, it appears that the worst of the flooding is over as the river begins to recede. In terms of flood extent, the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities was measured at a height that ranked it as the eighth highest on record, certainly a significant stage but not a catastrophic one (especially when compared to the historic flood of 1965).

Here are some highlights from this week in the Arb:

– Early Eastern Phoebe observed flying south of Interpretive Center 3/24

– Eastern Bluebird pairs surveying mounted bluebird houses in southwest corner of Arb 3/23-24 (more than ten days earlier than last year)

– Male Red-winged Blackbirds staking territories near Jim Gilbert Teaching Pond 3/23

– American Robins increasing in numbers throughout Arb and across campus 3/22-25

American Robin foraging near Interpretive Center, 3/23/10.

– Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels foraging in lawns throughout Arb and across campus 3/22

– “Wooly Bear” caterpillar (larval stage of Isabella Tiger Moth) observed crossing trail near Jones Northern Forest Ponds 3/22

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**Due to the college’s Spring Break, the next scheduled update of “Arb Sightings” is Thursday, April 8.


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