Journal for April 29, 2019

We’re having a cool, slow spring this year.   Every day a few more birds arrive and a few more flowers open.


Some nights are still below freezing,  so the mornings can be very misty.


The wetland with mist


We’ve been seeing a lot of Red Admirals.  They spend the winter farther south, and come north once the weather warms.


Just when all the snow had melted, and butterflies and new green leaves were coming out, we got one last big blast of winter – 8 inches of heavy wet snow.  The odd thing was that the snow was brown, not white.  The winds in the storm were so strong that they blew dust up all the way from Texas.   This satellite loop from CIMSS shows the movement of the dust – in yellow.


The dust was only in the top inch – below that the snow was white.


A very cold bluebird


Fortunately the snow melted quickly and we were back into spring.


The snakes have come out of hibernation in the last few weeks.   This is the first one I saw – a Common Garter Snake on the hill behind the house.


This is a Brown Snake – a small snake that’s quite common here.   This one looks fierce, but it was only about 10 inches long.  It was on the driveway near my moth lights.  I was afraid I would step on it by mistake, so I encouraged it to move, and it didn’t like my suggestion.


We’re still seeing a lot of deer, although they’re in smaller groups now than they were during the winter.  We were sitting on our bench on Hidden Oaks Point a few days ago, when one group walked up the point and past the bench.  It must be a favorite route – they watched us suspiciously, but didn’t seem upset that we were sitting right next to their path.


The beavers have been cutting down some of the large trees along the creek.  This one has been cut like this most of the winter – every day we walk by, we’re surprised to see it still standing.


We don’t often see woodchucks in trees.  This one was in a crotch of a big old Burr Oak near the Hidden Oaks bench.


Even though the weather has been cool, and sometimes snowy, new leaves are coming out


And flowers are blooming.  This is a Small White Violet.


Sand Cress – a tiny flower in the Mustard Family that grows on dry sandy prairies.  It’s one of the earliest flowers to bloom here.




This Hoary Puccoon was slightly damaged – maybe by a deer hoof – but it lets the flower buds show.


We’ve been able to start on a few of the spring projects – in between storms.  I’ve been treating Garlic Mustard and clearing  brush, and we constructed and put up some new bluebird houses.


Our house is tucked back in a valley, so the best sunsets and sunrises are usually hidden behind the hills.  Mike drove out early one morning and saw this sunrise over the wetland.