A chilly month of April has slowed the appearance of most green leaves and flowers – but the blooming that has begun seems all the more colourful for its scarcity.
On savannah and at forest’s edge, trees and shrubs were budding out even on frosty mornings.
Muddy creek banks took longer to warm but small trees soon sent out leaves.
In the deep forest Mayapples were ready with their parasol-leaves fully formed underground, poking up and unfurling to catch the sun before the tree canopy envelopes them in shadow.
On a creek bank a showy willow bursts into flower before forming its first leaves.
A fresh willow twig is beautiful, yes … but tasty? The beavers think so, and it’s not hard to find clusters of willow with each stem neatly chewed off. Here our Castor canadensis is coming home with groceries.
The Muskrat, too, enjoys fresh salad in the spring. Though the marsh vegetation still looks dry and lifeless, beneath the waterline the cattails are sending up new shoots. You’ve got to wonder – how does someone who forages in the mud at the bottom of a swamp keep such beautifully clean nails?
The Mute Swans who have moved into the marsh also spend a lot of time pulling vegetation from beneath the water. But this time of year they’re busy sorting out nesting sites and territories. During the daytime there are frequent bursts of thunder as determined swans chase others away, huge feet slapping the water and the whoosh of wings audible for hundreds of meters.
Before sunset peace returns, while nesting pairs circle one another in their slow spin dance.
Photo at top of page: Brush With Light (click here for larger view)