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Seals or Ground Hogs - Who Predicts Weather Best?

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If the ice is out and snow is just flakes is winter over?

Yesterday I looked through my windshield as I was driving home. I noticed that the ledge about a 1/3 of mile away from my house was covered with seals - maybe. I couldn't park the car fast enough to run back outside with a pair of binoculars. Yes, there were 12 harbor seals on the ledge as the tide was beginning to go out. Harbor seals in February the day after Valentines Day! That hasn't happened in my lifetime. Yes they sometimes show up in March, but not February. I've kept records.  

Drift in Back I remember Groundhog's Day and the prediction from Pennsylvania was six more weeks of winter. Well that seemed right when the next week we got walloped with Blizzard Nemo. Preparing for the blizzard meant putting wood on the porch, getting jugs filled with water for the toilets, boiling water and putting it into thermos style containers, getting lanterns and flashlights ready, and of course the shovels and snowblower. We had 6 pairs of Northern Cardinals at our feeders during the storm. Not bad when all fall and early winter we had 4. 

Spring must be early. The sea ice has stopped forming and has floated out to sea. The days are getting longer by 80 minutes since the shortest day. The seals have arrived to play and feed. More birds are visible and they are chirping. The chickadees have started to eat my swelling magnolia buds or at least wound them by taking bites out of them. The snow cover is bare in many places and down to less than 6" in most others having shrunk within 3 days after the blizzard stopped dropping snow.

Sunset February 2009Of course now I must consider when I should put away my snowshoes and get out my mud boots for the spring thaw on the roads has started. I'm hoping to get in another few days of snowshoeing but if this keeps up, I'll put on my drysuit and go paddling. I think that the seals are more accurate than the groundhog.

 

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Guest Thursday, 17 October 2019