Posted by: atowhee | February 7, 2016


First Day of Spring

February 7: Today was the first unofficial day of spring here in Yamhill County, OR. The crocuses have been in bloom since late January. The artemisia shrub at the corner of the house bloomed last week. Now the camellia, rhodies, daffodils and willows are in bud. The alders along the wild creeks are hung with tassels. The clematis is showing its first green leaf clusters. Today I saw my first honeybee of the year, working the crocus. Later I was moving a walnut tree to a suitable spot and in the loose earth was a fast-moving centipede. While birding and walking the dogs this morning, a seamless process, I heard a Song Sparrow singing. Not the muddled practice lines of the first-year males you hear in the fall. This was an adult male staking his claim. “Here-I-stand. My bush, bush, bush, bush, bush…ee.”

I shall be checking the sky more often now…the first Turkey Vulture or Osprey or Tree Swallow cannot be far off. The ducks that must migrate north later this spring are paired off, gives them a good start on nesting when they arrive on breeding territory. Somewhere Great Horned owls already have owlets in the nest, as do some of our local Red-tailed Hawks.

Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote, “To what purpose, April do you return again?
Beauty is not enough. 
you can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily…
Life itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
AprilComes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.”

Edna, dearly departed dreamer,  you were too much of people, too much inside yourself.  Too bad you never met your distant cousin, Emily Dickinson…or had some preternatural encounter with the unborn spirit of Alan Watts.  As much as I love champagne, Edna, those bubbles are nothing to the bubbles sent up today by an energetic Junco bathing in our birdbath as the sudden sun of mid-day warmed the air.  RBS BRITE (1280x960)Sapsucker above, in fine light.  Below alder waving its tassels in the breeze. ALDER (1280x960)Wennerberg Park, Carlton, OR, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Feb 7, 2016 11:00 AM.  11 species

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  3
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)  3
Red-breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber)  1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  1
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  2
Brown Creeper (Certhia americana)  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  30
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  20

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