The weather has been kind of "March-like" this week, a little rain, a little snow, a little wind and a little cool. In spite of the weather, the yard is starting to come alive. The snow and cool conditions haven't stopped the grass from greening up just a bit.
The ground has completely thawed and the telltale signs of the Ground moles is everywhere. That means they have followed the earthworms to the top soil, where they both will spend the summer.
The first flowers to bloom are the little yellow, lavender and white crocuses that have popped up through the straw at the edge of the garden. Being that they are the only thing that is blooming makes them the center of attention for this flower lover.
A handsome Robin red-breast is also taking advantage of the earthworms. I counted six different male robins searching the short-grass for worms and other insects. There has been no sign of the females yet but I expect them to return any time now.
A phoebe hawks for insects around the yard and garden and today there were a half dozen Cliff swallows flying up and down the creek. It's a cool 40° today and some light rain makes for a dreary setting but the return of the swallows brightens things up.
The tiny Spring peepers may be one of the smallest frogs you will ever see but their big voices make up for any loss in stature. For anyone who wants to hear the marsh coming alive, all they need to do is pull over after dark near a pond or backwater and roll down their window. The spring frog music won't fail to lift your spirits and your heart. You can surprise the kids who are in the car by letting them hear the Spring peepers. It's little things that make great impressions. A tiny Spring peeper wouldn't cover your thumbnail if he was sitting on it. This little tree frog is a brownish color and has a distinguishing dark X on his back. You would think that a frog that makes such a loud sound would be easy to spot but nothing is further from the truth. They are tree frogs, which means there are tiny suction cups on the ends of their toes. They are rarely seen in the water, preferring to cling to a branch, a blade of grass or leaf where they blend in perfectly.
The Wood ducks are courting in the river bottom and are often seen in threes as they fly through the trees. Two males will follow a single female for several hours each morning. She's busy, flying from tree to tree, looking for a nice cavity to lay her eggs in. The males follow her wherever she goes. It's a ritual that lasts a couple of weeks each spring.
The weatherman says there is a warm trend coming this next week. There should be some new birds coming in that depend on finding insects to eat when they get here. Temperatures in the 60s and 70s should bring more insect activity. Already I've seen a few hardy warblers and a cowbird. Any day I'll hear the first towhee and Rose-breasted grosbeak. From now until leaf out, a month from now, each week will see the return of new summer birds.
You might say that Mother Nature is turning up the heat on the decisions we make in our daily lives. We're doing a lot of talking but few are taking the more serious steps that are necessary to really turn things around. Talking is fine but in order for our children to learn by example, we have to walk the walk. I've always said that a lot can be learned by walking and talking.
Let Nature help you with your daily decisions while you take time to take a walk down one of her springtime trails.
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