All posts tagged Bloodroot

By Derek Stoner, Conservation Project Coordinator

The Bloodroot at Ashland burst into bloom on March 13, and already was dropping petals just five days later on March 18. Image by Derek Stoner.

The fourth and fifth weeks of the Signs of Spring Challenge featured a flurry of new observations, most likely due the incredible stretch of warm weather that is literally pushing the petals forth on flowers.

On March 12, mulitple observers reported the return of the Eastern Phoebe, with a vocal male calling all day near the covered bridge.  Then on March 13, a class working in the marsh discovered the first Garter Snake of the season wiggling through the grass.  Also that day, the first Bloodroot of the season was noted in bloom, right at the front door to the nature center.  This particular  flower bloomed exactly a week earlier than it did in 2011.

This week, on March 19, we had two observers share with us new sightings on March 19:  an Anglewing butterfly flying along the floodplain trail and a Spring Beauty in bloom near the covered bridge. 

At the exact half-way point of the 10-week Signs of Spring Challenge, 13 of the 20 Signs of Spring are already accounted for and recorded.   Although lots of Signs seem early, this is exactly where we were in 2011: 13 Signs recorded by March 23.  

Now we wait for the Final Seven Signs:  Water Snake, Snapping Turtle, Barn Swallow, House Wren, Robin building nest, and Trout Lily and Violet blooming. 

What Signs of Spring are you seeing in your yard?

By Derek Stoner, Conservation Project Coordinator


The first blooming Bloodroot of the season at Ashland: right by the front door! Image by Derek Stoner.

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.

An Anglewing butterfly rests on the ground. Can you tell which species this is? Image by Derek Stoner.

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?