Jeff Green | May 03, 2007
Back toHomeNatureReflections - May 3, 2007
Nature Reflections by Jean Griffin
The saying that "April showers bring May flowers" is borne out by the appearance of many spring flowers in the month of May, but April itself has flowers. Some of these are not noticed readily, because they are high on trees like the Trembling Aspen, tiny like the red, female flowers of theBeaked Hazelnut, and sometimes quickly shedding their petals like the Bloodroot - all of which I have seen in the last two weeks.
April weather is also conducive to the return of the migrant birds (there have been some arriving in March, but Aprilbrings many more). Most of the sparrows have arrived back - the White-throated with its "tom-tom-peabody" call, the Field sending its soft, sweet whistles out to attract a mate, the Chipping with its rather unmusical trill, and I heard a Lincoln's singing on the 21st. On the 27th the Brown Thrasher was perched high on a tree and repeating each of its rich and variedmusical calls twice. The first of the jewels of the forest - the warblers - have arrived. A Yellow-rumped Warbler and a Pine Warblerwere both singing on April 23. For the last few days a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, arriving a little later than its cousin the Golden-crowned, has been singing its lively chant. Also on the 27th a Hermit Thrush was giving an eveningconcert from the top of the hill. These are just a few of the birds that are back from their southern journeys and preparing to raise families. Rosemary Anderson on Green Lake, near Burridge,echoes many of these with her report of"a well-dressed Yellow-rumped Warbler singing today, as well as Chipping and Field Sparrows, and a pair of cowbirds keeping watch from a tall tree, the male (presumably) doing its strange water-gurgle sound regularly."
The warming temperatures of April are what rouse the frogs in the ponds, the snakes on the roads (getting warmed in the sun) and brings about the first few mosquitoes and blackflies - a promise of what lies ahead! Let's not forget those insects, either rousing from hibernation or hatching from eggs laid last year. Without them many of the birds would not survive because of a lack of food. OnApril 27 I discovered a tiny tent - a home for dozens of tiny caterpillars about 2 to 3 mm in length- the firstof the Tent Caterpillars. Is this going to be a year when this less-than-desirable species shows up in numbers?
April is a special month - a month to welcome flowers, birds, frogs, snakes, and whatever else nature produces. Then comes May with an even bigger bounty - many more colorful flowers, more of the warblers, migrating shorebirds, turtles sunning on logs and rocks, and sometimes hordes of insects, many of which we wish were not present, but all of which are a part of the cycle of life. So enjoy the Aprilshowers and the resulting burgeoning of life.
An opportunity to look forward to June and the Showy Lady's Slippers at Purdon is being presented by the Rideau Valley Field Naturalists club on May 6 when Dr. Ted Mosquin will be the guest speaker talking about the ecological management of the Purdon Conservation Area and those beautiful members of the Orchid family. The general public is invited to join the RVFN for their meeting at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 6 in the all-purpose room at the Perth and District Indoor Swimming Pool on Wilson St. at Sunset Blvd. There is a small admission fee of $5 for non-members.