Looking, smelling, and sounding more like spring each day

Temperatures continue to go up and down with lows in the 20’s and 30’s and highs usually in the 50’s or sometimes almost 70 degrees. This week started on May 19 with cold weather and rain but warm weather arrived on Thursday with highs in the upper 60’s. Although it has been cool lately many changes are taking place with plants and animals. Spring peepers, wood frogs, and chorus frogs have been peeping, clucking and chirping everyday and night.

May 13- Wood frogs have laid masses of eggs in one of the vernal ponds on my property. There are many mosquito larva swimming around in the pond.

Wood frog eggs on May 14, 2013
Wood frog eggs on May 14, 2013

May 14- I found fairy shrimp in the above mentioned vernal pond today. These small crustaceans are a freshwater relative of brine shrimp. Finding them adds a new animal species to the checklist of my property. The forsythia bush has begun blooming today.

May 15- Two whistling swans and several bay ducks (species not known) flew over here this morning. Juncos are still here. A goldfinch stopped by. Dutchman’s breeches, bloodroot, scilla and bristly black currant (Ribes oxycanthoides) are finally flowering. For such tiny flowers bristly black currant has a strong sweet scent detectable from a few feet away.

Bristly black currant flowers
Bristly black currant flowers

May 16- Ovenbird calling in the woods at dawn. Another magnolia warbler in the garden. Apple, meadow willow, and aspen leaf buds opening. Pasture finally green. First dandelion flower (very late).

May 17- Goldfinches passing through. Another magnolia warbler. Paper birch (Betula papyrifera) and Carex umbellata are flowering.

Flowering spikes of Carex umbellata
Flowering spikes of Carex umbellata

May 18- Ovenbirds calling in the woods and kildeer in the pasture.

May 19- Found a kildeer egg in one of my garden beds but I think it was abandoned. Yellow warbler in pasture and garden. Two black ducks in vernal pool.

Kildeer egg in wood chip mulch.
Kildeer egg in wood chip mulch.

First onion planting is coming up. So are pigweed (Chenopodium sp.) seedlings which I did not plant. Balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera), tea-leaf willow (Salix planifolia), nanny berry (Viburnum lentago), wild gooseberry (Ribes hirtellum), and tamarack (Larix laricina) are leafing out. Crack willow (Salix fragilis) and white willow (S. alba) are flowering. Woodland horsetail (Equisetum sylvaticum) is up with spore cones.

Woodland horsetail spore cone
Woodland horsetail spore cone

May 20- First catbird of the season seen foraging in shrubs. Female purple finch seen in crab apple tree.

May 21- Saw a humming-bird taking nectar from Ribes oxycanthoides flowers. Blue birds and an American redstart in the pasture.

May 22- Blackpoll, blackburnian warbler, blue heron and bitern. Viola adunca has flower buds almost ready to open. Woodrush (Luzula acumianta) is in flower. A Juneberry (probably Amelanchier interior) has started blooming and other Amelanchier species are close. The river has flooded again after 2 inches of rain fell in three days.

Woodrush flowers
Woodrush flowers

May 23- Two whistling swans flew over the house at 6:30 AM. Wood frog eggs have hatched. Mayflower (Maianthemum canadense), bluebead lily (Clintonia boreale), and blueflag iris (Iris versicolor) leaves are emerging. Two woodland sedges, Carex peckii and C. peduncullata, and one grass, Oryzopsis aspera, in full bloom. First bumblebees of the season seen on the Ribes oxyacanthoides today.

Wood frog tadpoles just hatched on May 23, 2013
Wood frog tadpoles just hatched on May 23, 2013

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