14 March 2012

Snow, What Snow ?

Looking out of the front door at Bog HQ, I can see sleet. Yesterday we had full-on snow that came, stuck, stopped, started, stopped, started, and then went away again and out came the sun.
I'm a fan of snow, as long as I don't have to drive in it, so for me it was exciting. But we're almost at the vernal equinox, (20th March) so what of those signs of spring?

The vernal changes are not just triggered by temperature, the lengthening of the days plays a huge part. The Skunk Cabbage is appearing, and the Salmonberry is starting to bloom - right on schedule - we look for it to be out around St. Patrick's day.

And there is plenty of spring bird-noise and activity in the bog. Now is the time when birds are nesting or preparing to nest and for some, there is a change of guard. We're used to seeing American Robins and probably don't think of them as seasonal visitors, but they don't stay around the whole time. At the moment we have the darker, more brightly coloured variety, later, we'll see another wave, some slightly lighter-coloured robins. We notice them on the ground, pulling up worms and pecking around for seeds and invertebrates, and we also see them on the top of evergreens, only recognisable by the almost crescent shape of their back.

The other group of birds we are waiting for are the Rufous Hummingbirds. More often than not, they appear around the same time as the first Salmonberry flowers, but I would expect them to be at least a week late this year, given the cold snap.
This would be a great time to hang up those hummingbird feeders, so that as soon as the first of them blow in - hummingbirds don't travel as a flock - they can find sugar to replenish the energy expended over their long flight.

Photo of American Robin, Turdus Migratorius, courtesy of Marlene Graham.

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