By Derek Stoner, Conservation Project Coordinator
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?