Saturday, March 28, 2015

Things to Look for: Spring!

It's another late spring, and so I have no idea exactly what the timing will be on some of these things...the peepers and wood frogs are active. And I'm hoping to get out this weekend to check one of the warmer bloodroot patches that I know about (last year, which was also cold, they were blooming on April 9.). What have you been seeing lately?

Photo credit: Carly & Art
Bloodroot is one of our favorite spring flowers. Each plant blooms only briefly, and there's a window of only a few weeks that the bloodroots bloom at all. It's one more thing that inspires us to spend as much time as possible in the woods at this time of year.
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
Photo credit: aecole

Every year we look for the cheery flowers of the
spicebush as they emerge to light up the understory. It's common throughout our local forests.
Maple Flowers
Photo credit: jpwbee
Maple flowers aren't as showy, but they're an important source of nectar for early-season pollinators -- and an unexpected spot of springtime color if you know to look for them.
Spring Peeper
Photo credit: bbodjack
Spring peepers are another pilgrimage-inspiring phenomenon in our household. How are these tiny critters so LOUD? And why are they so hard to find? We were so excited when we finally figured out how to spot them.

Wood frog eggs by The Natural Capital
The frogs are noisy because they're looking to mate. Spring peepers lay their eggs in out-of-the-way places, but we often find wood frog eggs in March (and tadpoles in April), easily visible in vernal ponds in many of the local parks.

Photo credit: cyanocorax
Spring Beauties are not a showy flower, but we find them dainty and adorable. They're one of the first spring ephemerals: perennial flowers that emerge every spring on the forest floor, and they last a little longer than most.

Photo credit: Dandelion and Burdock
Bittercress is less adorable, but more abundant than spring beauties -- and edible! Throw some in your spring salad mix for a vitamin-packed punch.