The Many Signs that Spring is Here and Summer is Coming

(1) I saw a big, fat sparkling white tour bus at the museum yesterday. I hear that the tourists descend fast and hard on Fairbanks as soon as the weather becomes “nice”.

(2) The birds have arrived en masse. Sunday I saw the first of the Sandhill Cranes. The geese have been here for a few weeks. There is a plethora of ducks, and today I saw the first gulls. I’ve taken quite a few pictures out at Creamer’s Field; here is another one of my favorites:

Crane Leads Geese

A Sandhill Crane leads the geese back to the fields. Actually they were all peacefully resting in the field when a helicopter flew overhead and caused them all to scramble.
(3) Snow and ice is being replaced by water and mud . . . everywhere.


Fence Reflection
New pools have formed everywhere. Here the fence at Creamer’s Field is surrounded by water. Even our house is surrounded almost completely by marsh.
 

Reflection
Just one week ago this field was snow. Today it is almost all water and reflects the great blue sky.
(4) Speaking of blue skies, we have them all the time. Today we had 16 hours 27 minutes of sunlight. We also just entered a period where the darkest it gets at night is nautical twilight (the sky is still cobalt-bluish). This means our aurora season is dead until at least September.

Sunsets

The Sun setting at about 9:50 pm last weekend. We had nice sundogs and light pillars as the Sun got low on the horizon.
(5) Folks are watching the Nenana Ice Classic pretty closely. Every year people all over the state bet on when the Tanana River will break up. Typically this happens in late April or early May, so right about now. The jackpot this year is $338,062. Kate and I forgot to buy our tickets, doh.

(6) Saw my first green grass yesterday and first green undergrowth popping up too.

(7) It’s supposed to snow only at night. Although, even the nighttime lows are hanging just around freezing now. To understand how huge a deal this is you need to know that between November 2010 and March of 2011 Fairbanks had 50 Days where the temperature in F was below zero. The lows were almost always below zero and we had 10 days where the temperature went lower than -40. It’s so nice to go outside in a t-shirt again.

(8) I want to be outside all the time!

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