Spring is wound up and ready to pop!
Sure, it was colder than usual the first two months of this year. And, it seems as though it has snowed more this year than within memory. It’s predicted to snow today!
But, there’s much evidence pointing to a new season springing forth. The days are getting longer. Both the maples and elms are ready to burst open their buds and Hazel Alder is nearly in full flower.
The sun is coming up earlier and setting later. Chorus Frogs and Spring Peepers are calling and Pickerel Frogs have been seen slowly moving about the landscape. More and more turtles are coming out to bask in the afternoon sun, both Yellow-bellied Sliders and Painted Turtles.
I saw a solitary wasp in a sunny spot of the trail in Catch the Wind and a paper wasp flew by me in the Wetlands.
On my drive in to the Museum recently I saw two different Red-tailed Hawks carrying nesting material. The two Brown-headed Nuthatches that were digging a hole in a Loblolly Pine in Catch the Wind at the beginning of this month are at it again, this time on the opposite side of the same tree.
Listen for the nuthatch’s squeaky-toy calls in the pines as you walk around throughout the outdoor areas of the Museum.
Northern Cardinals have been singing for the past month and, according to Exhibits Tech David, one was seen carrying nesting material last week. I heard the first singing Red-winged Blackbird of the season on the 19th of February. Tufted Titmice are singing their clear-whistled, repetitive notes. Pine Warblers are in song. And, I heard a Song Sparrow briefly trying out its repertoire of rolling trills.
A small band of some two dozen Cedar Waxwings attempted to storm the small hollies next to the Ornithopter for their berries. The Leonardo da Vinci inspired ride in Catch the Wind was too much for the little waxwings; its huge white wings flapping back and forth next to the hollies kept the birds at bay.
These waxwings arrived four days earlier than last year’s nomadic troop of over 400 that descended on the hollies growing next to the main Museum Building.
Purple Martins have been observed within our borders. These birds are early arrivals, for sure, but the rest of their species is definitely on its way north.
From this point on things will move quickly. New arrivals from the south will appear, fresh new leaves will begin to emerge, snakes, insects…I can’t wait!