-- Last Updated: Apr-11-13 7:18 PM EST --
I think it was two evenings ago I heard the first chorus frogs of the year. At that time, most of the nearby ponds still had some ice on them, so this must have been a shallow wet spot that warmed up quicker. Now the ice is almost all gone, as is most of the snow, and things will warm quickly once the sun shines again.
Speaking of ice melting, last weekend I went out on the upper Yahara River into the Cherokee Marsh. As I expected, the widest part of the river, where it's contiguous with a dredged lake, had ice from bank to bank. As I was looking to see if there was a place to get a boat through, six white pelicans came in for a landing. I thought to myself, "I've never seen pelicans arrive here before the ice was gone." Well, pelicans apparently know more about ice than I do. I headed upriver and three hours later when I returned, nearly all of the ice was gone. Instead of a quarter mile or more expanse of ice, there was a band along one bank that was 20 to 50 yards wide. I think the ice must have been pretty well interspersed with water, and I found little patches farther downstream that I could force the boat into, but I've never observed how quickly it melts at that stage. I've probably never seen it because it's over and done with in such an incredibly short time. Just this week, our second-biggest lake went from ice covered to wide-open. Same process I guess.