It was so warm Saturday that even Julia Worth's pet bird come out and joined the kids on the playground.
Stanley -- a 1-year-old greenblue-crown conuie -- seemed to enjoy the weather, though he spent most of the afternoon perched on his owner's arm.
"It has to be at least 70 degrees before he can go out," Worth said. "This is the first day I thought it was warm enough. He gets tired, sitting in his cage all winter long."
Unlike Stanley, most people have beenoutside before this weekend, even to enjoy an occasional warm day in March. But this time many believe spring is here to stay.
Baseball season is just a few hours away, the other "rite" of spring -- setting the clocks one hour ahead -- is over and the temperature is holding steadily above 75 degrees.
"People are starting to come out of the woodwork," said Lewis Brown, who was handing out buckets of balls Saturday at the Severna Park Golf Center on RitchieHighway. "We had a couple of nice days in March, of course, but spring is officially here now."
That was pretty much the consensus Saturday.From Downs Park in Pasadena to Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis, people of all ages were out enjoying the day. Most had their families withthem.
Kay Haring and Brenda Mullinix of Glen Burnie were patiently waiting on the first tee of the par 3 short course in Severna Park,ready to see how good their golfing lessons were. "We're attempting golf,"Haring said. "It's beautiful out. And it's good exercise."
Bill Kesner came to play for his 6-year-old son, Jonathan. "He was begging me to play mini-golf for a long time," he said. "We're ready forspring."
Unfortunately, this burst may be the last taste of hot weather for a few weeks. "We won't be looking at cold weather," said Ken Shaver, a National Weather Service forecaster at Baltimore Washington International Airport, "but we'll be getting back to more normal weather on Thursday."
Normal, he said, means highs in the60s -- not 80s. "I guess you could say we got a taste of summer this weekend,"Shaver said, mentioning that rain is predicted for tomorrow.
For Orioles fans, of course, today is what counts.
"We always try to work with the team," Shaver said. "It doesn't always work. Ten years ago, we had a little snow squall on Opening Day. We'll be a little betterfriends for them this year."
The weekend was kind to everyone, from those who stepped up to batting cages in Severna Park and Gambrills to those who simply wanted to relax. Karen Holland's three teen-agers were off playing in Quiet Waters Park, so she slipped away to a quiet pier overlooking an inlet of the South River.
Holland, a professional painter, sat alone on the edge of a dock sketching the river and trees. "It's a great day, no doubt about it," she said.
The Quiet Waters playground was by far the most popular spot. "It's so pretty -- the kids love it," said David Miller, who brought his 3-year-old daughter, Emily, and her 1-year-old sister, Katharine, to the park from Shady Side. "Actually, I thought it was going to rain today.
"We'll walk along the river and then either come back or go to McDonald's," Miller said.
But even the playground was upstaged. Stanley, the bird who came to play outdoors, was an attraction that even a teeter-totter couldn't beat. Worth said her bird got a lot of attention.
"He's been pretty good about it," she said. "He has been getting on people's hands, but he hasn't bit anyone yet."
Worth broughta net in case Stanley decided to climb, but the trees turned out to be too tall. And his owner wouldn't allow him to climb the jungle gymwith kids. "I think some of the kids and the mothers would be nervous," she said.