Early Spring Things to See

Top Photo: Balancing act by yellow-bellied slider.

The unusually warm February has brought out early baskers, bloomers and animal hormones.

If you haven’t seen turtles basking in the wetlands you haven’t been looking very hard. Every available perch is occupied, with no room to spare.

Climbing up.

Normally heavy sleepers, I even saw a snapping turtle the other day.

Common snapping turtle just under surface of water.

Red buckeye, one of the earliest shrubs to open up, is doing so now. There are a dozen of them planted along the path from the Dinosaur Trail into Catch the Wind.

Buckeye buds bursting open.
Just the beginning.

A drake mallard has been accompanied by two ducks for several weeks. There’s another drake in the wetlands, but that one keeps getting chased off by the male pictured here.

I’m not sure what’s going on but the ducks seem to have made their choice.

Two female mallards (ducks) keeping company with drake.
Drake mates with one of the females (head just visible above water to right) while the other looks on.
Drake washes self as duck moves on.

It’s unfortunate that I’ve not been able to get a photo of our red-shouldered hawks mating. I’ve only managed to get photos immediately before and after the act, a matter of seconds.

Red-shouldered hawk searches forest floor for frog or snake offering for its mate.
Both male and female preen following mating.

Saucer magnolia is budding and blooming now. This one is in Explore the Wild next to the Red Wolf Enclosure.

Saucer magnolia.

And of course, our Canada geese persist.

Canada Geese.

And if you’re feeling sneezy, here’s one reason why, elms.

Elm buds.


Elm branches loaded with flowers hanging over boardwalk and releasing pollen.

I hear it’s going to cool down in the next few days. Get outside and enjoy the warmth now!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.