The appearance of green minty milkshakes at McDonald's restaurants is as much a sign of spring as singing robins and sprouting crocuses. And they were a special treat Thursday, which was St. Patrick's Day.

"My grandmother started taking me to get them when I was a little boy," said Anthony Carroll of Milford as he waited for his Shamrock Shake at the location on Westport Avenue in Norwalk. "For me, they mean winter's over and spring is almost here. What could be better on a beautiful sunny day like today?"

It might be last call for the season for Carroll and his fellow Shamrock seekers. "We're down to our last gallon of flavoring," said Edith Espinoza, general manager of the restaurant. "Once that's gone, that's it, unless we can get some from another store that didn't use all of theirs." She doubts that's likely, noting that the minty concoctions have been extremely popular since they went on sale back in February.

Shamrock Shake aficionados watch for the appearance of the seasonal sweets with an almost fanatical devotion. There is even a website dedicated to Shamrock Shakes where spotters can post when they appear at their local McDonald's. This year, there has been some controversy as the company reformulated all of its shakes, serving them topped with whipped cream and a cherry, something that some purists consider to be gilding a confectionery lily.

But new recipe or old, most look forward to the brief appearance of the Shamrock Shakes and rush out to consume them during the duration of their sales life. Sláinte!

Have you had a Shamrock Shake this spring? What do you think of the new recipe?