There are many more weeks of winter left, but recent warm air and heavy rains have melted the snow and opened up the river, which is swollen and not as likely to freeze again. If it remains open, the Mergansers and Arctic Terns will be here in just a few weeks.
Although I have not seen them, I know the Great Horned Owls are nesting. The Bald Eagles will be pairing up, as well, although their chicks will not hatch as soon. On clear mornings, the eastern sky is light by 7am and Cardinals and Carolina Wrens are sometimes fooled into singing. The warmth of the sun is strengthening.
These shoots of Snow Iris are always the first to appear. They should bloom by the middle of February. I place the new garden catalogs on my bed stand so I can look at them before I sleep and dream of spring.