Some of the wild birds have started nesting while some are still just arriving. A few of the robin nests have tiny, featherless young and the female cardinals and phoebes are sitting on their eggs. While some are well on their way to raising new families, others are just now showing up. The Cliff swallows came Thursday night in large numbers as night-time temperatures stayed in the 40s. A few Rose-breasted grosbeaks returned on Friday, a thrasher on Saturday, and a beautiful Baltimore oriole on Sunday. The migration seems slow in spite of the first week of "leaf out" being nearly two weeks early this year.
Some of the early bluebirds are already carrying small worms and insects to their nests in the birdhouses. The little Bluebirds will grow quickly and will be able to fly within the next 20 days. This morning I watched a pair of bluebirds carrying dry grass to another birdhouse—their nest building has only just begun.
It was only a week ago that the ground was covered with white frost and the temperature was 26 degrees at six o'clock in the morning. It was a hard frost yet a very pretty one, but I can't help but wonder what it did to the apple blossoms. It warmed up the next night and there hasn't been any frost since. There is a chance of frost here in the Kickapoo Valley until the first of June.
Each morning walk is a new adventure—new bird songs to hear and a new wild flower in bloom each day. This morning's new flowers included some pretty yellow violets and a beautiful nodding Yellow bellwort, not to mention a few lovely Jack-in-the-Pulpits.
There is a little frog pond next to the creek where the wild mint grows lush and fragrant. Poking his nose out of the still water of the pond was a large tadpole. He is a future Green frog, and looking closer I could see his hind legs forming at the base of his tail.
Some of the turtles are out and about looking for a place to lay their eggs. Three times last week I stopped the car and got out to move a Painted turtle off the road. Turtles don't move very fast and many become traffic fatalities—another good reason to slow down and pay attention to the road while driving.
The Morel mushroom season is well on its way and I've heard many stories from friends who have been successful finding them. I always try to pick a few for myself and for a couple of elders who can't get out to find them themselves. Morels fried in Organic Valley Butter…there is no better way to celebrate Spring.
There was a robin in the path at the edge of the woods…or should I say he was in the path but left his feathers behind. The pile of feathers was all that was left of a Cooper's Hawk's robin-breakfast. It was a peaceful setting with feathers in the shade and wild flowers all around. Nearby were several nice patches of Birds-foot violets, a few lovely columbine, and a bed of Jacob's ladder.
Saturday was sunny and 70 degrees—the perfect day for a very large snapping turtle to climb out of the water and catch some rays. He stretched out his legs and neck to take full advantage of the warm sun.
There is so much to experience outdoors now. The warm breeze carries the fresh scent of Spring and the sound of rustling green leaves through the trees. The chorus of birds in the morning and the frogs at night gives music to our ears that lasts around the clock. Experience the rebirth of Summer and taste all the wonderful flavors of Spring. Go outside, and let nature into your life.
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