Spring is in the air, and I believe, finally here to stay.

Even harder to believe is phenologically we are pretty much right on time.

Yesterday, I saw my first orioles and rose-breasted grosbeaks – and just a couple days late.

As you’re reading this, the woods should be full of plum and June berry blooms. On the forest floor, bellwort, wood anemones, violets and morel mushrooms.

But with them come the gnats and mosquitos. The ticks are already plentiful.

But the bugs bring the warblers, and let’s hope their migration is much better than the waterfowl migration, which in my journals will go down as the worst I have seen – or should say for what I haven’t seen.

For the first time, I never saw or heard the tundra swans – not to be confused with the local trumpeters with their annoying bicycle horn honk. Tundra swans migrate through from the East Coast and have a sweet “whooo” flight call.

Also for the first time in my records, no pied-billed grebe or shovelers, all of which I normally get every year.

And also absent were green wing teal, American widgeon, gadwall and horned grebe, all of which I get most years. I only saw a few buffleheads, golden eyes, common mergansers, scaups and ringbill ducks. There were a fair number of mallards, wood ducks and hooded mergansers.

Woodcock showed up in high numbers, yet the drumming of ruffed grouse was the lowest I have heard. There was almost no snipe whiney. Very plentiful were the juncos and now the white-throated sparrows. I have seen a few yellow rumped, pine and palm warblers, so let’s hope as we are out looking at the ground for morels we are distracted by colorful warblers flitting through the flowering bushes.

An outdoorsman all his life, Dallas Hudson grew up in Akeley. He tracks the birds, animals, insects, plants of northern Minnesota in his daily journals. Hudson shares his nature observations and photos with KAXE’s Season Watch, the Minnesota Phenology Network and the Park Rapids Enterprise. He works at an official field camp of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) on Shingobee Lake, near Akeley.