While a few migratory birds are still stopping by on their way to nesting grounds far to the north, some resident birds have already hatched big broods. Meanwhile woodland flowers are hurrying to develop before the leafy canopies above cast a blanket of shade.
A few days ago a pair of Dunlins paid a colourful visit to Port Darlington beach, pecking at the wet sand in search of tiny insects. Since they nest along the Arctic coast and the shore of Hudson’s Bay these birds still have a long way to fly.
Along Bowmanville Creek just north of the harbour, a ramshackle beaver lodge has appeared vacant since it was submerged by last spring’s high water. But this curious Mink seems to be quite at home.
Two weeks ago there was little trace of these ferns beyond the stumps of last year’s growth. Now they have emerged and unfurled their fronds more than half a meter high. In the interim the muddy forest floor was dotted with fiddleheads.
Another woodland plant is just about to present a well-kept secret. The intoxicating aroma of the Mayapple blossom will soon be present – but you have to get down on hands and knees and peer under the umbrella-leaves of the Mayapple to find its single flower. The single delicious yellow fruit, similarly hidden, will ripen in August – and the squirrels will be ready.
Under a tree on a sand dune, Vinca is now in flower.
In the marsh, shoots of green are just emerging amongst the sun-bleached stubble of last year’s reeds. A pair of Common Terns found that a couple pieces of the pithy cattail stalks make a fine raft.
The Great Blue Herons keep watch around the marsh’s edge for the many fish that ripple the water’s surface.
Pairs of Canada Geese are watching their nests throughout the marsh and along the creek banks – but some families have really gotten a jump on the season.
Top photo: Beachcombing (click here for full-size image)