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Posts Tagged ‘march’

Although seeing a butterfly in springtime is always a joy, seeing one in winter is sure to set anyone’s heart aflutter. 

These fragile creatures, known for their marvelous ability to transform themselves from caterpillar to winged wonder, have often been employed as symbols of the soul, hope and renewal.

In late winter when there is still the threat of harsh weather, one doesn’t expect to find such a delicate creature in the woods. My grandson was turning a log over in the forest to examine a shelf fungus more closely when he caught sight of the butterfly. 

 Though its wings appeared frosted and stiff, we brought it indoors to have a closer look.  We were quickly able to identify it as a Mourning Cloak  (Nymphalis antiopa), a species that can convert glucose into antifreeze in order to survive the cold.  When its wings are closed, showing only the dark undersides, it’s also extremely well camouflaged in dark woods.

What is unsought will go undetected.
~ Sophocles

Too often, we only see what we expect to.  Adults usually don’t expect to see butterflies in winter.  But a five-year-old wouldn’t have such set expectations, so his eyes would not so easily dismiss the shape of delicate wings for dried leaves.  I wondered how many Mourning Cloaks I had missed seeing in the winter woods over the years.

Within minutes of being indoors, the butterfly was opening its wings.  Though it looked a bit ragged, it was still alive.     

The older we get, the better we learn how to manage expectations.  We don’t like to disappoint others and we especially don’t like to disappoint ourselves so we get into the habit of expecting less of everything around us.  Yet, surely there’s something to be lost in lowering expectations in order to avoid disappointment.  Besides butterflies in winter, what else might we be missing?

High expectations are the key to everything.
~  Sam Walton

Thank you to Joseph Belicek of Edmonton Alberta for identifying this butterfly’s subspecies as hyperborea.

Scott over at Views Infinitum is offering a macro photography challenge to all who are interested.  Deadline for submissions is March 23rd.  The close-up images shown above were made by using the macro mode on the Nikon Coolpix S8000.

 

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As a child I often got into trouble for playing in the streams of water that appeared in springtime in the lane next to our home.  I loved re-directing the rivulets, making dams and watching sticks being carried along the stream’s path. 

However, as an adult, I’ve repeatedly told little ones to stop playing in the ditches that separate properties from the road throughout the Cow Bay area. Springtime waters are a magnet for young explorers. 

Ditches fill with snow in winter, are dry in summer, and usually hold streams of water in spring and fall when there is more rain.  It’s always a nice surprise to catch a glimpse of ducks swimming in them.

Not far from my home, the Cow Bay River always seems to attract more activity in springtime when rains and melting snow increase the water level.  Gaspereau fish attract the attention of both Ospreys and fishermen at some point during the spring as well.

The Cow Bay River empties into the watershed area behind Silver Sands Beach where it eventually meets up with the waters of the Atlantic.

I’ve panned for gold along the river, as have others over the years.  I didn’t discover any gold, but did share a wonderful afternoon with a friend in a peaceful outdoor setting.

You don’t have to play in spring streams up to your knees in order to enjoy the waters of March.  Just the sound of running water and the sight of sunlight sparkles on its surface can do wonders to enhance a walk in the woods or the neighborhood in springtime.

And the riverbank talks
Of the waters of March
It’s the promise of life
In your heart, in your heart.

~ Antonios Carlos Jobim

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You never know what you’re going to find in the woods… especially on Saint Patrick’s Day.  The Little People, or leprechauns as they’re more frequently known, are in the mood to have fun on this, their favorite of days. 

Unwilling to part with their treasure, it’s understandable that leprechauns have a natural fear of humans.  It’s no wonder that they keep a low profile in the woods throughout most of the year.  But today, they’re so focused on their dancing and merrymaking, that they could possibly let down their guard. 

Leprechauns are solitary creatures, if they’re out at all in the open during the day.  However, if taken by surprise by a cat or human, a leprechaun can always rely on clever evasive tactics, such as transforming himself into the shape of a hare. 

I spotted these two hares this morning in the front yard.  

At first I thought they were the usual snowshoe hares found in Cow Bay, but as I approached, I noticed a mischievous gleam in their little eyes.  Could they have been leprechauns in disguise? 

Now hares can easily evade predators by running in a zigzag fashion and changing direction on a dime.  They can also sit very still and conform to the landscape.  It only makes sense that a leprechaun would choose such a form in order to escape detection. 

If you do get lucky and manage to see a leprechaun today, it’s best to leave him alone.  The Little People are far too clever to be outsmarted of their gold by humans, and one may just take a notion to put the come hither look on you.

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After numerous days of torrential rains and relentless wind gusts, it’s refreshing to get a glimpse of blue in the sky.  Could winter’s fury finally be giving way to a calm resignation that its days are numbered?

Strong winds caused many tired and weakened trees to snap.  There seem to be even more diagonal lines in the forest. 

Rain water has gathered in the recesses beneath uprooted trees and in lower lying areas in the woods.  Known as vernal pools, these temporary wet areas not only provide animals with access to fresh drinking water, but also contribute to the biodiversity of the forest.  Amphibians thrive around these pools as do numerous varieties of mosses and grasses.  They will slowly dry up, but be filled again during subsequent rainstorms.

The rain melted all the snow, which is not at all good for snowshoe hares still wearing their winter white coats.  By contrasting more with the landscape, they become easier prey for foxes, coyotes and bobcats.  Hares will begin acquiring their brown coats later this month.  Until then, they’ll just have to keep a low profile and run a little bit faster if they want to survive until spring.

After every storm, the sun will smile;  for every problem there is a solution, and the soul’s indefeasible duty is to be of good cheer.
~ William Alger

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marchhare

 

The time!  The time!  Who’s got the time?

          ~ The March Hare from Alice in Wonderland

Who’s got the time?  Well, it appears that this hare does.  It seemed to have all the time in the world yesterday as it nibbled quietly on the grass.  Barely discernible on the landscape, it still had some of its hairs tipped with white from its winter coat. 

The grass has been covered with snow for most of the winter.  It’s only in the last few days that it’s become visible again.  Hares have been mostly dining in the back woods this winter, eating the green needles of  small fir trees.   It’s been a long winter.  Hares and rabbits are always a good sign that Spring is here to stay.

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