There’s a sense that it’s trying to be spring, but that the year hasn’t quite turned. For one thing, you can’t smell the earth yet. It’s almost reached 60 in the afternoon, but the wind has been fairly strong, and even when it’s sunny, we’ve had to bundle up and limit our time on the porch. (The porch does not get direct sun, except in late afternoon when it’s cooling down.) Next week’s forecast calls for pretty much the same weather.
In terms of signs of spring, we’ve had the female Scarlet Tanager, and I think we saw two Red-tailed Hawks exhibiting mating behavior, swooping and flying over the valley. I also saw a Northern Harrier the other day. They’re the hawk with a distinctive white rump, as seen from above. Sibley shows most of the south as their winter range, but the migration range goes down the spine of the Appalachians into Fannin County. I haven’t seen one all winter, so I suspect that – like the Tanager – this one was a migrant.