Yellowlegs

January 31, 2024

I, and I’m sure I’m not alone, find January to be a month that I look forward to putting behind me.  Sorry January, I’m just being honest here.  As I write this in my office in Lewes, DE we are ‘enjoying’ what seems like the umpteenth day this month of gray sky, temps in the low 40s, and a light damp breeze.  Not warm enough to encourage spring vegetative growth, not cold enough to snow, or to freeze ponds. February typically does not break that feeling of just-want-to-get-through-it, although by the end of February sunrise is close to 6:30am rather than the persistent after 7:00 that has been the case since the end of November.  Late winter type weather also persists here on the Delmarva Peninsula as we are surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, and Atlantic Ocean, water bodies that take a long time to heat up under the longer days of spring sun.  Although the weather takes a bit longer to warm here on the peninsula bird migration is seemingly more dependent on daylight length, or other terrestrial signals that birds are privy to.  The return of migrators to start their nesting season is independent of weather and temperature so encouraging signs of spring are not at all dependent of the thermometer.  My mind drifts to visions of spring on this chilly, damp, cloudy January day on the coast, and visions of yellowlegs in our marshes provide a little colorful uplift.  I’m looking forward to migrators returning, marking the changing season.  It won’t be long now will it (willet)?

Winter Warbler
Sanderling
Pheasant Surprise

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