Saturday, February 10, 2018

Winter's tipping point #phenology

The two remaining poinsettias went out this week. Christmas greens swags and front door wreath have been removed. It's now just slightly more than two weeks until we've reached meteorological Spring.

chipping sparrow(?)
chipping sparrow(?)
Photo by J. Harrington

American Tree Sparrows (we think) have been visiting the feeders over the past few days. To be honest, we hadn't paid much attention because the wing bars look like goldfinches. Then the rusty cap on one of them caught our eye and we started paying more attention, although we haven't had a chance to get a really close look. We have had past visits by chipping sparrows, but they've been much later in the year, April and May.

back-lit cardinal male
back-lit cardinal male
Photo by J. Harrington

The sun is rising noticeably further North than back at solstice. It occasionally backlights a male cardinal, offering a pretty picture. All of a sudden today, sunlight seems to have taken on a warmer, more Spring-like tone. We're being threatened with a one-day thaw next week. Soon, our snow cover will turn to drips, then drops, then rivulets and rills, eventually brooks and creeks, then streams and rivers. We'll be saying we thought we thaw the snow melt away! Before that happens, though, the woodpeckers would probably appreciate at least one more round of suet. Time to go shopping. Soon the woodpeckers will be busy hatching young and we'll be busy sorting out insect hatches while trout fishing.

The Thaw

Henry David Thoreau, 1817 - 1862

I saw the civil sun drying earth’s tears —
Her tears of joy that only faster flowed,

Fain would I stretch me by the highway side,
To thaw and trickle with the melting snow,
That mingled soul and body with the tide,
I too may through the pores of nature flow.

But I alas nor tinkle can nor fume,
One jot to forward the great work of Time,
‘Tis mine to hearken while these ply the loom,
So shall my silence with their music chime.

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