Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Things to Look For NOW that Usually Come in May

Even the less nature-aware people that I know are noticing what a weird spring this has been. Topping the list: yesterday, I ate the first ripe strawberry from my garden.

Below are several things we've highlighted before on the Natural Capital well into May, that are blooming/active NOW. Don't miss them!

What else have you been seeing way ahead of time that we shouldn't miss?

yellow ladyslipper orchid
yellow ladyslipper at TWMA by Carly&Art
We often make it out to Thomspon Wildlife Management Area in early May to see the trilliums and ladyslipper orchids. I know I usually say that there's so much to see in the DC metro area that roadtrips are unnecessary, but the display at Thompson's is really unbelievable. And last night at the Maryland Native Plant Society meeting, someone announced that the trilliums are already blooming.

Photo credit: cotinis
Pinxter Azaleas - Some yards are an absolute riot of hot pinks and purples in the spring with azaleas bred from Asian species. But there is actually an azalea native to this area, and it's quite showy in its own right. They were already blooming a couple of weeks ago in Rock Creek Park -- hopefully we haven't completely missed them.

tuliptree flower
Photo credit: The Natural Capital
Tuliptree Flowers - Tuliptrees are one of the dominant species in the forests in and around Washington, DC. But because the trees are so tall, many people have never seen their flowers. They're blooming now, and you may find some falling on the ground even if you can't see them in the treetops. (But the real treat is, you can drink their nectar.)

Baltimore oriole
Photo credit: Eric Begin

Baltimore Orioles - Migrating right along with the tuliptree nectar are the orioles. Learn to recognize their pretty song and you may greatly improve your chances of actually seeing one. We just heard it for the first time this year on Saturday.

Hummingbird by Jason Means
Ruby throated hummingbirds - Need I say more? Love, love, love these birds and I'm always so happy to see them come back in the spring. It usually happens in May, but there have been reports of hummingbirds in our area already.