The ice on Lake Monona here in Madison hadn’t been out more than 10 days when the loons started congregating again. Their carefully organized advance teams had flow up from Arkansas and Missouri along the flyway and reported that the ice had broken around Monona Terrace and fishing was plentiful for bluegills, crappies, and yearling white bass and minnows. Along my bike commute, just south of the convention center, no fewer than 3 dozen heavy bodied birds could be seen trolling about – their heads and beaks just above water in submarine fashion. Then, as if on signal they “dive! dive! dive!’ Camera spotters with telescopic lenses set up along old Law Park shoot pictures of the common loon as if they’d never seen anything like it before. But one must admit, there is a comforting and entertaining aspect to these returning birds. It means spring is making its inevitable creep north.
An additional returning critter is the peregrine falcon couple who have once again made residence in the nest house atop MG&E near Blair St. These tremendously fast birds are fun to watch as they work the area, readying their nest for a new brood.
Speaking of creeping north, Baseball will finally return to the northland this weekend with opening day. To some folks in Wisconsin this means the eternal hope that a team based in Milwaukee will finally find its way into the playoffs. But seriously, opening day means that the Chicago Cubs will once again return to their ivy covered home in Wrigley Field. This year they bring some hope that was not fulfilled in 2009 when, in the 100th anniversary of their last pennant, injury and the ill-will brought on by the presence of Milton Bradley, and other distractions left them with a sub-par finish. This spring, a few new faces with some hot bats (Tyler Colvin) and a refreshed pitching staff have many of us feeling positive about the 162 game haul. Chemistry is key. With luck we won’t have to ingest too many chemicals to drown the sorrow of another lost season.
As Ernie Banks used to say so many years ago: “The Cubs do it again in two thousand ten” (wait… what will they do again?)