I saw my first migratory Eastern Phoebe of 2018 this afternoon at Forest Park, thus kicking off spring for myself over a week after spring actually started. Over the last ten years my average first phoebe has been the 22nd of March, meaning that this year’s bird was a full eight days later than average and more than two weeks later than last year’s. (The photo up above, by the way, is from October of 2015.)
As I have for the last several years, I will now ask the same question of midwesterners and northeasterners that I ask every year: When did you see your first Eastern Phoebe of 2018? And was it late or early?
In the last ten years I have seen my first phoebe of the year on dates ranging from a 12 March (last year’s) to a relatively late 31 March. This year, with the regular nor’easters and a lack of south winds, my first phoebe was late! Regardless, I was happy to see the tail-wagging harbinger of spring migration and I can’t wait for everything else to get back too! Below are my first dates for the last ten years if you are really interested in such things…
2018 – 30 March
2017 – 12 March
2016 – 18 March
2015 – 28 March
2014 – 29 March
2013 – 24 March
2012 – 15 March
2011 – 19 March
2010 – 31 March
2009 – 15 March
Last year I saw one on March 3, but usually I see my first Eastern Phoebe around the middle of March. St. Patrick’s Day shows up regularly in my FOY lists. A couple years I had my first in mid-April and another couple years in January (presumably lingering birds rather than early-arriving ones).
Still none here in Heidelberg/Germany.
Very early this month saw a small micro-climate with in our region loaded with them. They kept hawking the whole swamp, and finally I caught on a photo a tiny bug an 1/2 away from being eaten. Midges!