The season of spring, the vernal equinox, began March 20 with a new moon and total solar eclipse. The season has come early to the Tetons with our mild winter and warm temperatures. Animals are on the move. Aspen catkins hang heavy on trees. Geese are nesting. Owls call to mates. The iridescent blue of the male Mountain Bluebird thrills us as they dart from the fence posts. Change is in the air.
Songbirds are returning daily. Mornings carry the trill of many new birds as they begin to mate and establish territories. I have seen ravens with nesting materials in their beaks. Great Blue Herons soar together and eagles on nesting sites along the river. I haven’t seen an osprey but I am sure they will return any day. They will be busy building new nests since most nesting sites are occupied by geese. All along our roadways, you can see the platform nesting sites intended for osprey and a close look shows a goose sitting on its’ perch. It’s fun to watch the daily changes because green leaves are still about a month away.
This past winter is our third warmest ever in Wyoming. Mid-February was the last time snow accumulated in town. Weather forecast reports 316 inches of seasonal snow so about 100 inches below average. November was our wettest month which truly helped our overall snowpack. 60 degree temperatures were recorded in November, February and March.
Our spring weather will greatly affect potential for fires this summer and our flower season. The Snake River Basin reports snowpack is 94 percent of average. It could be a big fire year if we don’t have a wet spring. Our warm winter and low snowpack resulted in the cancellation of the annual snowmobile hill climb in the town of Jackson. I am sure the winter economy was affected and many disappointed without the weekend of fun. We continue to tour beneath bluebird skies until our spring closure April 6. Summer hiking season begins May 1.
Animals will continue to move to summer territories with the greatest movement during high pressure and clear skies. Stay alert while driving at night. I have seen herds of animals on the Teton Village Road and highway 89/191 north of town. Enjoy two for one dinners this month and the sleepy feel of Jackson. I’m off to Costa Rica to feel sand between my toes, warm weather and swim in the beautiful ocean
What’s in the woods
3/5- Snake River, Fall Creek- three moose
3/5-Munger- great grey owl
3/6- bluebird day and warming up
3/8- Wilson, WY- red-winged blackbirds, magpies
3/9- highway 22- herd of cow elk on the move
3/12- gros ventre road- elk starting to migrate, bull moose, two bald eagles
3/13- high of 50…yikes!
3/14- Jackson- robin in town!
3/17- moose near Gros Ventre River
3/20- Taggert Creek- American Dipper
3/23- quick moving storm
3/24- wintry and stormy
3/25- foot of fresh snow in the mountains
3/27- raven nest building
April is truly the month to enjoy bike paths. With varying temperatures and melting snow, it’s hard to predict consistent tour options. The plowed Jenny Lake Road is an ideal place to recreate since vehicles are prohibited until May 1. Spring skiing might be an option but it must freeze overnight. Remember winter closures are in effect until May 1. Check out where closures are in effect since spring can be a stressful time for animals and we don’t want to needlessly disturb them. Have fun!