It’s February. What happens in February besides cold north winds, Groundhog Day, the Super Bowl, and two of our past president’s birthdays? Why, our two seasonally local Canada Geese arrive in our Wetlands and hazel alder comes into bloom. That’s what happens in February.
I do not know where these two geese spend the rest of their year, but they arrive here in our Wetlands each February. Unless the water freezes over they will remain here till late spring or summer. Even if the water does freeze, they’ll stick it out till the very end, only leaving when there is no other choice. They return as soon as the pond thaws.
The track carved out in the thin ice of the rapidly freezing pond tells the story. Where the track ends marks the spot at which the geese took flight during a freeze last February. They are dedicated.
Hazel alder also comes in February. The plant, or woody shrub, is actually here alongside our Wetlands all year. February is when it comes into bloom.
The 3″ – 4″ male flowers, or catkins, hang just below the tiny, reddish female flowers. The flowers are pollinated through the action of the wind, or with the tap of a naturalist’s finger, as in the photo below.
You can see the pollen take to the air just to the right of the catkin. The female flowers will become small, seed bearing cones later in the year.
You can see both the geese and alder flowers down in our Wetlands. The geese will probably be foraging along the edge of the Wetlands, the male standing guard as the female eats. The alder is located on the north side of the Wetlands, just to the east of the vending area. If I’m in the area when you visit, I’ll point it out to you.