10 Early Signs of Spring in the Don Valley: April 2, 2018

Ever the optimist, I went out on March 19 hoping to find 10 early signs of spring.

The results: not one.

No singing birds and no emerging plants except for green leaves that have endured the winter for Garlic Mustard, Motherwort, Dame’s Rocket and others.

This morning I had success. Here is my list:

#10  STINGING NETTLE

Some green leaves have just emerged.

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)

#9  MANY ROBINS

American Robin

#8  MORROW HONEYSUCKLE

The buds of Honeysuckle stay hidden all through the winter and emerge in spring.

Morrow Honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii)

#7 MALLARDS

Mallards tend to stay in largish groups during the winter but pair off and begin looking for secret nesting places in spring.

#6  GARLIC MUSTARD

These tiny, round, green leaves are plentiful at the moment.

Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)

Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)

#5 GOLDFINCHES

The males are starting to develop their breeding gold colours and blackish head markings.

American Goldfinch (male)

 

American Goldfinch (male)

#4  TREMBLING ASPEN

The pussy willow-type flowers are now out.

Trembling Aspen (Populus tremuloides)

#3 SONG SPARROWS

I had many singing Song Sparrows this morning.

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

#2 KENTUCKY BLUE GRASS

It can be recognized by its boat-shaped leaf tips. Kentucky Blue Grass is famously neither blue nor from Kentucky.

Kentucky Blue Grass (Poa ptatensis)

#1  WOOD DUCKS

A female is already claiming a nesting box and the male is nearby.

Wood Duck (female)

Wood Duck (male)

Wood Duck (male)

There are also a few human signs of spring.

#1 The mountain bike trails show lots of activity.

#2  I’ve got the Benjamin Britten SPRING SYMPHONY in my car CD player.

Poems with a spring theme by Spenser, Milton, Herrick, Auden, Blake and others set to music with full orchestra by one of the finest 20th century composers.

Miles Hearn

 

 

 

 

 

 

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