Archive for March, 2016

Ice? Snow? So what? It’s SPRING!

Saturday, March 26th, 2016

 

Pasque flowers

Pasque flowers

Despite occasional setbacks, it’s SPRING!

 

On one sunny day, pasque flowers bloom on a ridge in a northeast Iowa goat prairie. Then – hardly 24 hours later – your flowerbed crocuses seem to shiver under an icy jacket left by a late-winter storm.

 

Cold crocuses

Cold crocuses

Ice also coats the swelling buds of an ironwood tree, until the sun finally musters enough power to free them.

 

Icy ironwood

Icy ironwood

As buds swell in the soft maples in the river bottoms, the trees take on a reddish tinge, which almost glows in the first light of a March sunrise.

 

Soft maple

Soft maple

Icicles and snow may linger in the moss of a north-facing slope – while snow trilliums bloom bravely just a few yards away.

 

North slope icicles

North slope icicles

Snow trillum

Snow trillum

The song sparrow heralds the season by singing its “tea kettle” song from a conspicuous perch atop a leafless shrub.

 

Song sparrow

Song sparrow

Goldfinches turn a motley, patchy, yellow-green as they transition from drab winter plumage to their lemon-colored summer suits.

 

Motley goldfinch

Motley goldfinch

A bold tom turkey gobbles at dawn, then puffs his feathers to scout the woodland edges for still-reluctant hens.

 

Turkey tom

Turkey tom

The first great blue heron of the season stalks the Mississippi backwaters – perhaps hoping that spring floods will push a hapless frog or wandering fish its way.

 

Hungry heron

Hungry heron

Puddle ducks harvest the waste grain and weed seeds of a farmer’s inundated cornfield.

 

Ducks in a puddle

Ducks in a puddle

A pair of mourning doves shares the bounty of your bird feeder, fueling their bodies for the rigors of egg-laying and parenting.

Lovey-dovey

Lovey-dovey

 

The Canada goose already had begun incubating her eggs on the island in the pond, so she simply hunkered down to stoically ride out the storm and protect her yet-to-hatch clutch of goslings.

 

Dedicated goose

Dedicated goose

Look for more blooms. Listen to the bird songs. Smell the neighbor’s prairie fire. Touch the cool, damp earth. Taste the freshness in the air.

Savor the season!