Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Does Spring arrive on feathered wings? #phenology

Although we didn't get the 8 - 10 inches, or even the 6 -8 inches, forecast, the 4 or so inches we did get left us with no view of bare ground. Sigh. This storm has also produced an unusual result: all the birds are feeding on the West side of the house. There's been no action at the East feeder for more than a day. We've no idea why.

snowstorm birds
snowstorm birds
Photo by J. Harrington

Goldfinches, woodpeckers and chickadees are abundant behind the house. In front, no squirrels, jays, or cardinals, no signs of disturbed snow either. Maybe most of the local critters are still hunkered down from the storm.

Although we haven't yet seen or heard any in our neighborhood (yet), earlier today we saw a report of  the arrival of sandhill cranes in the county South of us. That's a joyful and hopeful sign. The National Phenology Network estimates that Spring is arriving about a week ahead of "normal" across the Southern half of the country. That leaves those of us in the North Country needing yet more patience and faith that, eventually, the cranes and waterfowl will once again prove that "Yes, Virginia, there is a Spring, and it will arrive as soon as the migrating birds can carry it North."

Spring Leaf Index Anomaly, March 6, 2018
Spring Leaf Index Anomaly, March 6, 2018

To Spring


Roger Greenwald


Dreaded season when light’s too long too soon,
winter turns to you before its work is done.
Along with snowdrops, forsythia, anemone,
along with tulips breaking out of their bulbs,
comes the long memory of the fatal spring
when I was thirty-three and my love wasn’t there,
had gone without waiting and said she’d return,
but winter’s work done, was still gone.
Absence stronger than flowers, steaming in sun,
poisoned the season, buried morbid winter
and filled imagined summer with vapors. Light,
light spring drifts in like a feather
used for torture, its touch
too much and not enough.


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