By Derek Stoner, Conservation Project Coordinator
Spring officially arrived this past Sunday, March 20, but our observant contestants helped to record 12 Signs of Spring before the actual season began! The past two weeks (March 7-13 and March 14-20) have been full of new sightings.
Here’s how it all unfolded:
On March 13, Amy and Jim White found an Eastern Phoebe singing by the Ashland Covered Bridge. These early-arriving flycatchers like to be near water, where they feed on emerging aquatic insects like stoneflies. This sighting ended Week 3, bringing us to a total of 9 Signs of Spring observed.
On March 15, Joe Sebastiani and others reported the first Tree Swallows investigating nest boxes at Ashland.
On March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day) an Anglewing butterfly was seen near the Ashland Marsh. These early-emerging butterflies are actually two very similar species: the Comma and the Question Mark. Because they are so difficult to tell apart, we call them by their family name: Anglewing.
Finally, on March 20, the official First Day of Spring, the first Bloodroot at Ashland bloomed, right by the front door of the nature center. Named for the bright red sap that Native Americans used as a pigment, Bloodroot has one beautiful white bloom per plant. Their bloom period is about one week.
After 4 weeks of observation, a total of 12 Signs of Spring have been accounted for at Ashland. What will be next? Certainly the Spring Beauty should bloom soon, and Barn Swallows might arrive in the next couple weeks. Lots of other signs– not on our list– are being observed each week. What are you seeing?