Coltsfoot is among the earliest of the wildflowers. Only Skunk Cabbage flowers earlier.
These yellow composites will be long gone before the plant's big long-lasting leaves push up. The leaves persist long into the fall.
A rather emaciated looking Red Fox was chasing gray squirrels under my bird feeders at 10 AM!
In dry sun-warmed spots along the edge of my field Grouse Locust were active.
And overhead, raptors were moving north. I saw red-tails, Cooper's hawks, turkey vultures and a bald eagle. When the sun was out there were good thermals!
This raccoon went up the tree sniffing like a bloodhound on a trail. I suspect that it was a boar coon on the scent of a female. 'Coons are normally nocturnal. Being out and about at 10 AM hints at a powerful incentive. On his way back to the woods this one had a hearty snack at one of my bird feeders and a drink out of my bird bath.
This weekend's weather front brought with it a wave of returning raptors. I saw several red-tailed hawks moving north this morning, also one bald eagle and a pair of turkey vultures … the first I've seen this year. A rather grainy picture of one of the vultures was the best I could do. The birds were moving high and fast.!
While it may not seem very springlike today the return of the vultures means that road kill is no longer frozen solid and winter killed deer are melting out of the snow.
Eat hearty, vultures!
Despite the record cold in February Hemlock Woolly Adelgid managed to increase its footprint. Nine of 30 trees I checked along Camp Arden Road were infested. A stand of Hemlocks on Green Mt. Camp Rd that I have surveyed frequently in the past now has obvious Adelgid populations.
Today with the sky overcast and the thermometer at 25 degrees F a few snow fleas (order Collembola) were atop the snow and active.
There are some 675 known species of Collembola in America north of Mexico. Most live in the leaf litter, but habitats as diverse as the surface of stagnant water, under bark, and in the canopy of trees have been colonized by members of this order. There are few places they can't be found.
I have no idea which of the 675 known species I was seeing today. They were in sun melted 'wells' around phone poles and, to my surprise, many were laboriously climbing those poles. I took pictures of some that were 3 to 4 feet above the surface of the snow, a towering height for such a tiny climber, and they were still headed up!
Mysteries abound. Which species was I seeing? Why were they scaling vertical structures? Who knows? Just getting a picture of one of these hyperactive pepper specks is a challenge.
Since 2-25 Winter Stonefly naiads have been leaving the water. Once the naiads shed their "skin" the adult flies (pictured) walk over the snow and ice and climb on streamside weeds and brush. This is their brief terrestrial mating season, the only time they are not in the water!
These synchronous winter stonefly emergings provide food for migrating birds caught by late season stormes. Phoebes, robins, bluebirds and song sparrows will feed on them.
Even crows find these tiny insects irresistible.