By Michael Wald Co-Owner and Guide
The first day of spring can be measured in many different ways. We are a full 2 weeks into spring today, if we use the astronomical measure of the equinox. After 30 feet of snowfall this winter here in Haines, Alaska, we may be half-way into summer before the snow is gone, so that measure doesn’t seem quite right. And with temperatures this week still close to -20 across much of Arctic Alaska, even temperature may not be the best measure of an Alaskan spring day. But I have no doubt that spring arrived last night, on feathered wings.
The woods have been quiet since September but today as I rode my bike to work, it became abundantly clear that spring has arrived. From deep in the spruce forests I heard varied thrushes trilling. In the brush near the beach I heard my first yellow-rumped warbler of the year. I saw two robins feeding in the ditch by the road, juncos signing from under the shore-pines, a kingfisher somewhere in the distance, and sitting high in an alder full of swollen buds I saw and heard a fox sparrow belting out his message for all the world to hear.
Spring in Alaska is a magical time, full of life and sunlight. One of the many things I enjoy about my job and lifestyle is that I get to enjoy spring 3 times. First here in coastal Alaska where we spend the winter, then in Fairbanks for the month of May getting Arctic Wild ready for the season, and maybe best of all in the Brooks Range where the avian chorus announcing spring lasts all through the sunlit arctic “night”. I can’t wait to go birding in the Arctic.