I’ve been venturing out here and there throughout the past couple weeks to find something to write about. So far, it’s been rather pleasant for late winter walks–temperatures in the 60’s and even 70’s along with mostly rain and sunshine. The crocus bloomed, followed by the daffodils. In the woods there are a fair share of coltsfoot and of course the much less eye-catching skunk cabbage which melted holes in the snow back in February.
Less obvious flowers are spreading their sepals; those of wind-pollinated trees. The maples are the most conspicuous gaining a red hue as their flowers fully open to bloom. I noticed a red squirrel in the neighborhood munching on some of these flowers.
As plant-life comes back from the dead, animals seem to spontaneously generate. Migratory birds have been making themselves known as they lay claim to territories in the forest and field. Robins are the most conspicuous along with purple finches, eastern phoebes, chipping sparrows, and eastern bluebirds. On one particular trail I startled an american woodcock which burst into flight just as I got a glimpse of it’s large dark eye and long slender bill. It’s one of the few times I’ve seen a woodcock in the wild and I hope to find it again.
In addition to birds, I’ve already found two species of amphibian–the red-spotted newt and the wood frog. The wood frog I found after hearing it’s barking coming from a small pond–I thought the sound was turkeys clucking. In the pond were clusters of opal eggs each with a black sphere inside. Adult newts paddled in the cold water but didn’t seem startled by my presence.
The warmth, however, didn’t last, and today–the second day of Spring–it was barely 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature didn’t deter me so I decided to see what signs of Spring lingered. The coltsfoot blossoms remained closed even in the scattered sunshine and no wood frogs called or newts swam in the pond. But the temporary cold will only delay the bloom of life in Spring. Until then, I wait…