All posts tagged Violet

By Derek Stoner, Conservation Project Coordinator

Trout Lily was discovered blooming at Ashland on March 30, a full two weeks earlier than in 2011. Image by Derek Stoner.
The past two weeks have seen an incredible burst of Spring activity in the plant and animal world locally.  The trend of warmth and plenty of sunshine has helped the trees leaf out quickly and lots of flowers bloom “earlier than average.”
For this Signs of Spring update, we go back to March 30 when Joe Sebastiani reported the first Trout Lily of the year blooming along the floodplain at Ashland.  Also that same day, multiple observers reported the first Violets of spring in bloom at Ashland. 
The following week, on April 6, Kim Steininger observed our first House Wren of the season at Ashland, as she was walking up Hawk Watch Hill.    And just yesterday, April 10, Joe Sebastiani saw the first Barn Swallows of the spring at Ashland.
So, as of April 10, 19 out of 20 Official Signs of spring have been recorded at Ashland in 2012.  The lone holdout?  A Water Snake!   Last year’s first Water Snake was reported on April 20.  Will we beat that record this year?
What Signs of Spring are you seeing in your neighborhood?

By Derek Stoner, Conservation Project Coordinator 


Week 7 (April 4-10) of the Signs of Spring Challenge brought three new additions to the list, with 18 of 20 Signs now officially recorded at Ashland this Spring.

The first blooming Violet of the season at Ashland. Image by Derek Stoner.


On Monday, April 4th, I spotted the first Barn Swallows of the year. Circling around the Ashland Lodge, checking out their potential nest sites, four Barn Swallows chattered cheerfully on a dark, cloudy morning.  Shortly after the swallow sighting,  I observed an American Robin gathering nesting material and building her nest on a beam of the lodge.

The rest of the week held all sorts of excitement, with warm temperatures bringing a frenzy of animal activity to the grounds of Ashland.  The mating trills of American Toads spread throughout the marsh, adding to the continuing chorus of Spring Peepers.  Red-spotted Newts, Garter Snakes, and Pickerel Frogs all provided exciting sightings for Ashland visitors.

To wrap up the week, the first blooming Violet of the season was spotted on Saturday, April 9, along the floodplain near the Ashland Covered Bridge.

To begin Week 8, Mayapples are unfurling their umbrella-like leaves, the trilliums are popping up by the nature center door, and sassafras blooms are getting ready to pop.  This is likely the first “big week” of Spring where a huge amount of change happens in short amount of time.  Literally overnight, trees unfurl leaves and flowers burst into bloom.

Our two remaining Signs of Spring to be accounted for are House Wren and blooming Trout Lily.  This may be the week for their appearance at last!