The woods awakened this morning under a deep cover of snow. A fresh snowfall over the holidays is usually welcome, except that it’s Easter today, not Christmas.
The snow likely convinced the spring bulbs to wait a couple more days before blooming. I thought for sure they’d be open by Easter morning.
Mosquito walking on snow
Of course we can always depend on the resilience of certain creatures to hang in there, regardless of the weather. Above freezing temperatures are anticipated for the rest of the week so all of that snow will soon be history. Unfortunately, the mosquitos are just getting started.
Happy Easter to all.
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This morning it looked like a hot summer sun was rising on the horizon. The 25.7 degrees Celsius high yesterday in Halifax broke the previous record by 15 degrees! (That’s a 59 degree Fahrenheit DIFFERENCE). In 1979, temperatures here on March 21st reached 10 degrees Celsius. The average for this time of year is 5 degrees Celsius. Today’s forecast promises more of the same.
The elderberry trees in the backyard are already showing their buds which is unusual even for them. They’re the first to flower in springtime.
It’s all very strange. What will happen if we go back to average temperatures later this spring? I wonder if wildlife is as confused as we are.
The waters in the salt marsh looked particularly still this morning.
It was fairly quiet except for the sounds of the songbirds near the woods. The soft sea breeze was refreshing in the warm sunlight. It likely won’t be as comfortable walking there later today in the full heat of the midday sun. It might be a better idea to go to the beach :)
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It’s getting warmer. And despite Canadians’ delight at enjoying higher temperatures than normal this week, some of us can’t help but wonder about the dark cloud that’s presently revealing this silver lining. Regardless of what’s causing climate change, its progress seems a lot faster than anticipated only a few years ago.
Surely it’s the smaller creatures that will be affected the most by climate change. We’ve had less precipitation than normal this winter. If a long, dry summer is to follow, amphibians like the red-backed salamanders shown above will not find the moisture they need to stay healthy. If spring vernal pools dry up too quickly, they and their kin will have difficulty finding a good moist place to lay their eggs.
This past winter likely didn’t kill off as many insects as a colder winter would have. Yesterday I saw numerous ants active in the flower beds, as well as this fly on the siding. If there are so many more insects than usual in March, what will their numbers be like in mid-summer? Will we be overrun by ants? At least the baby birds will have lots to eat once they are born.
These bright and perky robins were singing cheerfully in the woods this morning. Were they checking out nesting options in the neighborhood or just passing through on their way farther north? I wonder if they sense a change in the weather. Like them, we should be out enjoying the blue skies while we have them. It may feel like summer this week, but we’re bound to see snow again before long.
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Posted in Amphibians and Reptiles, tagged amphibians, canada, hibernation, january, nature, Nova Scotia, salamanders, spring, weather, wildlife, winter on January 3, 2011 |
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Hey, what are you doing awake? Aren’t you supposed to be hibernating?
It was so warm that I decided to come out and see if it was spring yet.
Weren’t you just out last month during a warm spell?
Yes, but this mating business is so important to us salamanders that I can’t let spring pass me by. I have to check out every possibility.
Where do you usually spend your winters?
We yellow-spotted salamanders ideally hibernate about six inches underground. However, I’ve just been buried beneath some leaves that are heaped on a concrete floor. Maybe that’s why I keep waking up. I need to find some deeper digs.
Once you really know for sure that it’s spring, where will you go?
In very early spring, we salamanders return to pools of water to mate. Females will lay up to a couple hundred eggs. Temporary vernal pools created by melting snow and spring rains are our favorite places because they aren’t home to the predators found in more established watering holes. We have to get there quickly so that the eggs have a chance to go through all the phases of growth before the pools dry up.
Good luck finding deeper digs. Hope to see you again, but no sooner than spring :)
Waking up throughout the winter takes up a lot of the precious energy I need for mating in the spring. I’m going to find myself a spot where I won’t be disturbed. See ya!
This yellow-spotted salamander was found wandering about on January 1st. It was previously seen on December 6th.
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Posted in The Best of Flandrum Hill, tagged 2010, 2011, change, earth, Natural Phenomena, nature, new year, Nova Scotia, soul, weather on December 31, 2010 |
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The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year, but that we should have a new soul.
~ G.K. Chesterton
In the blink of an eye, another year has come and gone. The Earth is changing. Could we be too? Here in Cow Bay, we had our share of the extreme weather that made headline news across Canada in 2010. Numerous storm surges caused flooding along the coast while high winds brought down tall trees.
Still, there was much to be thankful for.
A mild winter and very early spring made hearts light. The warm summer that followed brought gorgeous blooms and amazing tree growth. When fall’s leaves finally turned, many welcomed the cool, fresh air on the tails of a wicked September heat wave. This winter has been very mild with little snowfall to date. Surely cold and snow are lurking just beyond the corner of the new year.
Though we may not have any control over the weather, we do have control over our response to it. As weather patterns continue to change in the year ahead, I wonder how we will respond both individually and collectively. Will we become smarter planners like the ants, or more likely to sing in the sun while it’s shining like the grasshoppers? Perhaps a little of both.
Natural phenomena and the effect of Nature on the spirit were frequent topics among my posts in 2010. I especially enjoyed writing about Nature’s potential to teach, comfort and inspire:
A few posts even made it to the front page of WordPress in 2010.
Deforestation, aggressive coyotes and our vulnerable coastline will continue to be concerns in the year ahead. However, regardless of what Nature has in store for us in 2011, we will always have much to be thankful for, including one another. Happy new year and happy trails to all in 2011!
All are but parts of one stupendous whole, whose body Nature is, and God the soul.
~ Alexander Pope
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Posted in Natural Phenomena, tagged Hurricane Earl, nature, Nova Scotia, Seashore, shore, shore birds, storms, weather, wildlife, woods on September 4, 2010 |
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Nova Scotians are getting ready to welcome Hurricane Earl this morning as a tropical storm. Hurricane Juan was far more damaging and deadly than was anticipated just hours before his visit in 2003. It’s best to be prepared. Even this little spider seems to have battened down the hatches…
The woods are quiet and the songbirds are nowhere to be seen. Although it’s known that wild creatures seek safe shelters and extra food supplies in anticipation of hurricanes, scientists don’t yet know how they can sense impending stress to the natural environment. Their ability may simply be the result of heightened sensory awareness through sight, hearing, smell and touch.
Along the shore, the surf is pounding the rocks relentlessly. Waves are churning up seaweed from the depths. There are likely some crabs and urchins tangled in the kelp.
Considering how quiet the woods are, I was surprised to see so many seagulls, sandpipers and cormorants hovering around the shore. They’re probably looking for one last meal before the storm arrives. Hopefully, they’ll all find safe shelter just in time.
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