Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Winter or Spring: Which Is It?

Ludlow, VT.  March 9, 2014.
The eventual arrival and settling in of Spring weather and bird migrants is a given.  However, when or how soon is always a guessing game at this point in time.  Turkey Vultures, Killdeer, American Woodcocks, and Red-winged Blackbirds are beginning to show up in Vermont, and there has been at least one report of a Peregrine Falcon returning to its nesting cliff.  At home I am now greeted each morning with a chorus of singing Mourning Doves, Black-capped Chickadees, Purple Finches, and the drum roll of a Downy Woodpecker...such a wonderful start to the day in contrast to the quiet of Winter.  And, along with these developments was last weekend's warm (40s!), sunny weather which saw the year's first appearance of sap buckets on roadside maple trees and frozen unpaved roads morphing into oozing mud.  Today was another lovely warm day so much so that I spotted a wooly bear caterpillar crawling on a curb against a snowy backdrop, and a freshly awakened chipmunk under one of the bird feeders.   But as all Vermonters know well enough Winter is slow to let go of its grip.  As case in point a major storm is forecast for tomorrow and Thursday and to deliver 12+ inches of snow!  Perhaps once the last of our overwintering Snowy Owls has departed for more northern latitudes can we be assured that Spring has arrived.

Late winter/early spring Wooly Bear (Isabella Moth) caterpillar.

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