Monday, May 26, 2008

Latest Bloomers

Just a quickie today for those who are keeping track of the flowering schedules up here.

Now open, in a central Adirondack woodland near you: starflowers (Trientalis borealis) and foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia).

Coming soon: Canada mayflower (Maianthemum canadense), Solomon's seal (Polygonatum spp.), and false Solomon's seal (Smilacina racemosa).

And on the bird front: one of "my" nest boxes on the golf course has a chickadee nesting in it with EIGHT eggs!!! Looks like a bluebird may be using one of the boxes, a wren another one, and a red squirrel in a fourth. The remaining boxes are all empty.

Monday, May 19, 2008

May Flowers, But No Showers

Looks like May is going to be another dry month. As of today we've had a whole 0.87" of rain this month. Last year May had over 3", the year before over 6", the year before that only 1" and four years ago 5". Yep, unless we get a real soaker in the next week and a half, we'll set a record for lack of preciptation.

Still, the spring flowers are out and strutting their stuff. The following bloomers were showing off as of 14 May:

Sessile-leaved Bellwort (Uvularia sessilifolia)

Northern White Violet (Viola palens)

American Fly Honeysuckle (Lonicera canadensis)

Witch Hobble (Viburnum alnifolium)

Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatum)
Canada Mayflower (Maianthemum canadense) had some tight buds, so we may see them flowering in a week or so, depending on the weather.

In the non-flowering news, I was up bright and early today having to make a mad dash to the vet's before work (45 minute drive each way; if there are any vets out there looking for a place to set up shop, please consider Newcomb).

On the road before 7:00 AM, I had two great wildlife sightings (no moose, but still not too bad). The first was unidentifiable when it caught my eye - some amorphous blob in the middle of the road. I thought it might be a roadkilled deer. But as I drove closer, it resolved itself into two red foxes of medium size. They trotted across the remaining bit of road and disappeared into the trees.

The second, even more exciting, was a bobcat, crossing the road halfway between Long Lake and Tupper Lake. I slowed down and it sauntered across, then stopped and looked over its shoulder at my car as I rolled past. Very impressive. This was my second wild bobcat, both of which I have seen up here in the Adirondacks.

Now, if only that moose would appear...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Musings

This Mother's Day, while thinking of my own mother, I thought it was appropriate to also extend my thoughts to our Mother Earth as well, without whom none of us would be here.

The Mohawks have a wonderful Thanksgiving Address that everyone should hear at least once. I have been fortunate to hear it in both the Mohawk language as well as in English, at a tree planting ceremony overseen by Jake Swamp (Tekaronianeken), who among other things is the founder of the Tree of Peace Society. He's also published a wonderful children's book based on the Thanksgiving Address. I highly recommend it to everyone, regardless of age. Today is a good day for that address, to give thanks to Mother Earth for all she has done for us.


The ruby-throated hummingbirds are back. I saw one yesterday buzz by my rhododendrons, no doubt looking for some food. I immediately went inside and brewed up a batch of nectar (1c sugar to 4c boiling water), resurrected the feeders, and placed them all outside. By mid-afternoon the hummers were buzzing all about the yard and sipping nectar from the feeders. Their arrival never seems to coincide with the right plants blooming. I guess it's a good thing they also eat insects and spiders!

And since the bluebirds have arrived (although I've only seen the one and that was last Tuesday), I suppose it is time for me to start weekly checks on the nestbox trail. I have a bluebird workshop next Sunday, so I need to brush up on that as well.

One final thought for the day. Awareness. It is amazing just how unaware we are in our daily activities. For instance, what color are the eyes of the last person with whom you spoke? What phase is the moon in right now? From where you are sitting right now, which direction is north? What is the largest item on your immediate left (without looking)? I've recently started a wilderness awareness course and have discovered that while I know things like bird ID, plant ID, basic tracking techniques, how to use a map and compass, etc., my basic awareness skills, or more accurately my observation skills, are sorely lacking!!! I suspect this is due to a life lived in routine. So, I am working on changing this, and I encourage everyone else to do so as well. Maybe this is the answer to Alzheimer's!

Monday, May 5, 2008

First Forest Wildflowers are Blooming

The purple, or red, trillium (T. erectum) are starting to bloom. This is one of my favorite flowers, possibly because it is one of the first to put in an appearance after a long cold winter. I noticed my first blossoms yesterday as I headed out with a group of students from the University of Delaware for an ethnobotanical trail walk. It was chilly and rainy, but we were greeted first thing by the trillium in bloom, so I took it as a good sign for the walk (which went very well).

This morning I also noticed the first pussytoes (Antennaria neglecta) in bloom (or just about in bloom and probably open now after a day of sunshine and warmth). These have got to be one of my all-time favorite flowers. I love the name and I love the flower (sadly no photo since the camera lives at work and the flowers live at the other end of town). Look them up though - you will see they are very aptly named. More on these flowers to come since it is closing time and I must depart.