Saturday, 9 April 2011

On the Path -- April 9th, 2011

I went for my walk on the path today. What is usually about a 45 minute walk turned into a 2 hour one as I kept coming across signs of Spring. Nature seems to have been waiting for the first very warm day just like we were. Lots of people were out in their shirtsleeves walking the dog, raking the leaves, riding bikes.

Since Coltsfoot are pretty much the first wildflower to bloom around here, I've been waiting for them for days. They exploded today. The Silver Maple trees are blooming. I saw my first "wild" Crocus, my first Mourning Cloak butterfly and even my first Ladybug and Honey Bee. What a great day!

It's almost hard to believe that all these trees on the path will be covered in leaves in about 6 weeks.
















Silver Maple trees in bloom...
 




















Coltsfoot... I used to mistake these for early Dandelions but they're very different. The bloom is smaller and has a very different look. They bloom first, then the blossoms die off and they go to seed, again looking like Dandelions. It's only after the seeds have dispersed that they grow their leaves. And the leaves are surprisingly large for a small flower-- they're much larger than Dandelion leaves and have a distinct shape. In fact the name Coltsfoot apparently comes from the fact that the leaves resemble a colt's hoof in size and shape.



















They prefer rough ground and are often near creeks. They're not nearly as common as Dandelions and they come and go in a couple weeks.


































































These could easily be mistaken for Pussy Willows but they're the early stage of Trembling Aspen blossoms-- off to a nice start.



















Lichens don't change much but I still keep taking shots of them. :-)



















































Crocus... I walked right past these at first and only spotted them on my way back from checking out some Coltsfoot. They're probably escapees from someone's garden but they sure looked good in the brown roughage.































































When I was down on the ground getting shots of the Crocus, a Ladybug scittered by about a foot in front of my nose.






































And near the Crocus were some snail shells. In fact there were about 20 or so in a bunch.























Mourning Cloak Butterfly... the first to "return"-- actually it comes out of hibernation from an old log or whatever.
























Pussy Willows... They've been out for a week or so.

Black Locust tree... Some seed pods stay on the tree all winter, then open on the tree, and the seeds/pods drop to the ground.
 
Another view of the path. It was great to see all the signs of Spring. Bring it on!












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