Wednesday, March 24, 2010

First Wildflowers of Spring

Last week, I took a walk at Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve to see how spring was progressing. The answer was -- not much. I saw very few signs of growth, other than the Poison Hemlock sprouts, but the birds were singing loudly.
Yesterday, I took another walk (after a frustrating time trying to get the printers to work on their computers) and saw that spring has really arrived. The maple trees are among the first to bloom. We seldom think of trees blooming if they aren't showy like dogwoods and redbuds, but I think the little maple blossoms are exceedingly delicate! Our friend Bob at Bernheim pointed out that the blossoms with white or yellow stamens are the red maple, while the blossoms that are entirely red are the silver maple. You would expect it to be just the opposite.
The hillside along Little Huckleberry Creek at Creasey is wildflower central. This week the trout lilys are sprouted up and down the slopes, and even the sessile trillium are starting to bud. I'll have to start reviewing all the wildflower pictures I took last year so I'll remember the names of them all! This twinleaf looks like it just poked through the leaves this morning. YAWN! it seems to say as it stretches up.
I don't think of moss as flowering either, but I love the little sprouts on it. They look like duck heads!
Harbinger of spring does just that. It's one of the earliest bloomers. When it's in full sun, it doesn't get large. This one was in the woods, and is much bigger than those in the meadow.
This is the first rue anemone of the spring....
...and the first Dutchman's Breeches. They don't last long, and I missed them all together last year. To really see the progression of wildflowers, you need to visit your favorite spot at least every week, if not more often.
The sliders love a sunny afternoon, and come on the shore of Frog Pond to enjoy the warmth.
Creasey Mahan started a Bluebird Trail this year. People sponsor a Bluebird house and we paint their initials on the "love shack." We plan to have hikes along the trail for the Nature Fest in late May, when we should be able to open the houses and see the babies. Of course, you don't always get Bluebirds in the houses. House Sparrows think they should be called Sparrow houses!
This female Bluebird checked out one of the houses, and seems to be satisfied with it. I heard her commenting to her mate about the neighborhood though. She is amazed at the growth of the Bluebird Subdivision. "It wasn't like this last year!" she says.


Kay said...

Lovely photos! I know what you mean about looking at last year's photos to remember names of wildflowers. I am learning so many more wildflowers and butterflies now that I have a camera.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Very nice photos and yes, spring is finally upon us, oh happy days!