Spring!

10 May

Spring seems to have been slow in coming this year. The date on the calendar didn’t quite match the weather. But I think it’s finally here, for real.

In the woods, the spring rains have filled the vernal pools. These seasonal ponds will dry up by mid-summer, but until then they provide breeding habitat for a variety of creatures (who benefit from the lack of fish).

You can hear the frogs from quite a distance, and for a few weeks of peak activity, the sound was almost deafening up close! Many people say these are spring peepers, but those tiny tree frogs are mostly active at night–which explains the high pitched sound we heard coming from the marsh, ALL night long for several weeks!

In this video from mid-April you’ll see some of the daytime activity: tiny western chorus frogs (maximum size less than 4 cm/1.5 inches) and a leopard frog. Once again I got water in my boots, wading in just a bit too deep!

Other critters of all sorts are out too, including some that are very well camouflaged.

A young garter snake curled up in the dead leaves
A mourning cloak butterfly blends in with the leaves
Downy Woodpecker
This song sparrow was picking insects out of the spruce tree branches
A Northern Cardinal way up in a tall tree

And everywhere things are turning green. A few days ago in the woods I found tiny flowers blooming, ferns unfurling, and trees blossoming and budding!

Trout lily
Spring beauties with ferns–a perfect flower arrangement by Mother Nature!
I love the lacy effect of these white-flowering trees. I think they might be serviceberries. I’m still spending a lot of time looking things up!
A riot of new growth on the ground, including fiddleheads unfurling to become ferns.
Fresh green leaves carry the promise of summer.

The birds are nesting, and we’re enjoying watching the ospreys, terns, swallows, and swans out on the bay, but I’ll save that for the next post!

I’d love to know what spring looks like in your part of the world.

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