February 7th, 2008

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Signs of spring

A leopard frog making its melodious "grunk-grunk" call in the lily pond.   The sudden glob of filamentous algae due to last week's very warm temps and this week's brilliant sun.  The deep maroon of the roughleaf dogwood twigs in the creek woods.  The many green rosettes of cool-weather forbs there and peeking through the winter-killed grass in the pasture.  A subtle change in color of the Forestiera (elbowbush) which means its buds are swelling and about to pop (someone reported the first one in bloom day before yesterday, fifty miles to the south.)   Sudden surge of color on the aromatic sumac buds, to a deep purple-red.   Green showing at the base of bunchgrass clumps.  Wild garlic pushing up from the soil in the woods...and iris in the (seasonal--now dry) swamp in the woods.  One violet blooming.   Brilliantly iridescent flies--green, blue, bronze.   More butterflies than two weeks ago, and flying more strongly.  Question Marks, Common Buckeyes, Orange Sulphurs, Dainty Sulphurs.   Cardinals singing territorial calls and the males chasing each other with hostile intent near the waterholes.  Demure lady Cardinals showing more color in beak, crest, wing and tail.  Lesser Goldfinches beginning to sing territorially.  A robin--only one, but still, there he was today, at the water.  Coral honeysuckle not yet blooming (it's been dry) but putting on growth and healthy blue-green leaves.   A garter snake sunning itself in the grass (oops...now we have to watch for snakes again, though I don't think the Crotalids will come up from their dens for another month.  I hope.)   Horses stretching out, relaxed, sunning their bellies.  On a warm night (we had two) a small gecko on the window screen.  Suggestive rustling of other lizards in the leaves by day. 

And a strong desire to sprawl in the hammock in one of the rain barns and doze....