Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sprummer is Coming

Frost Flower #38- March 3, 2012
Every year the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) comes out with a list of new entries based on current frequency of usage.  "Sprummer" is defined as "Spring-summer confusion caused by cold one day and heat the next."  I would suggest we need one for winter-spring.

Saturday on Bull Creek started with a 20 degree morning.  The frost flowers appeared again, the 38th "blooming" we have recorded this season.  Granted that now they are much smaller and less dramatic but considering these same stems started in October, they get points for perseverance.

By noon we were seeing mourning cloak butterflies out for an afternoon stroll.  They seemed to be enjoying themselves but were hanging around home, ready to slip back under the bark when it turned cold at sundown.  A late afternoon goatweed leafwing butterfly, bright orange against the dead grass, was sunning itself by the wet drainage.

Spice bush
Up on the hill side, a large cluster of spice bush were starting to bloom.  They are taking advantage of openings in the woods created by trees that were uprooted by the first winds of the devastating May 2009 derecho.  It first touched down in Christian County before picking up full strength in the middle of the state, causing 48 million dollars damage.   While uprooting more than 80 of our trees of greater than 12 inch diameter, it also created  openings for young trees and wildlife to enjoy.

While taking spice bush pictures I startled an American woodcock which was too shy to stay for a picture.  Probably it is still embarrassed by its alternate name of "timberdoodle."  A shorebird that is frequently found in moist woodlands, it will probably find its worm hunting hard in our rock and clay uplands.

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