Wednesday, March 24, 2010

First Day of Spring - What's Left

I’ve shown what I found in the prairies and woods on my first day of spring walk, so now we’ll see what’s left in those areas that aren’t prairies or woods. On the barrens, the Leavenworthia uniflora, one of the uncommon winter annuals, is preparing to bloom. This plant is less than three quarters of an inch across and has been buried by snow, beat by heavy rains and suffered some gnawing on the leaves. The plant will hurriedly bloom and produce seeds before the barrens become too hot and dry for its survival.

Here’s the skull of a Ground Hog that didn’t quite make it to hibernation. I often see Ground Hogs doing things that seem contrary to a well developed survival instinct and I wonder how any survive at all. Like other rodents, they seem to take advantage of every opportunity and increase their numbers at a rapid rate.

Multiflora Rose is beginning to leaf out. The pale green shoots are easy to see this time of year and remind me that I still have several more bushes to eliminate.

Japanese Honeysuckle is also producing new growth. It’s common for many invasive plant species to grow during times of native plant inactivity. Early spring growth allows invasive plants to shade the natives and gain a competitive advantage.

The Hazelnut catkins are nearly mature and will soon be dropping pollen.

This Wild Black Cherry seems to be having a rough time of it. Growth deformities and oozing sap have made this a rather unattractive specimen. There were no insects attracted to the sap, so the taste must not be as appealing as that of the Sugar Maple.

I wonder if this is the kind of sap that could one day become amber. The color makes it pretty in an ugly sort of way.

I suppose you saw it anyway, but I just had to point it out. Who wouldn’t agree that this sap has the face of a bear? The only reason I see faces in everything, is because there are faces in everything.


  1. ...I didn't see it in the first photo, but I definitely see the bear here! Good eye...

  2. It's a bear, awright, no doubt about it!

    The Leavenworthia is quite pretty!

    The honeysuckle and rose, however, made my blood run cold.

  3. It took me a minute, but now I see the bear. Actually, it looks just like the face of the honey bear in our pantry! You'll have to excuse me, I thought I was seeing dinosaurs over on Jim McCormac's blog, so I'm trying to get my eyes to refocus back on reality...

  4. Kelly - I can find a face in just about anything I look at. It's a wonder I don't feel I'm constantly being watched.

    Jain - I know how you feel about the honeysuckle and rose, but I've eliminated enough of it that I think, if it had awareness, the sight of me approaching would make its sap run cold.

    Heather - The vision of dinosaurs was so strong for me that it took a while before I saw the coatis.