Naturalist News – Spring 2012

Redbud (Cercis Canadensis)
Redbud (Cercis Canadensis)

Today was warm in Philadelphia. I watched a Red-tailed Hawk soar high in the sky outside my office window. The daffodils are in full bloom.

Did You Know?

Plants brought over from Asia bloom before most local native plants? Any trees, shrubs or flowers (especially bulbs -Lilly of the Valley, Daffodils) that are blooming in very early spring are usually from Eurasia, Snowdrops are from Eurasia, Crocuses are from the Mediterranean region to sw. Asia and  Common Daffodils are from Europe.

snowdrops

The USDA has changed the gardening zones of the United States. Check to see if your area is affected.

In March I went to a lecture by Dr. Doug Tallamy, author of  Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, Updated and Expanded, the best book on the importance of native plants. His new website is found at http://plantanative.com/index.html. The page, “What Should I Plant?” is very helpful. This site is has useful pages listed at the bottom of the homepage.

Some Past In Season Blog Posts on Spring Events

Nature in Spring: an overview of the season

Spring Nature Journal Prompts – ideas for spring topics

First Spring Butterflies

Spring Bird Migration

Hummingbird Migration Dates

Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) in bud
Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) in bud

Seasons

Seasons Imbolc – February 2 (Groundhog Day) – Spring begins to show

Spring Equinox – March 20th (day and night are of equal length, the days begin to grow longer after today)

Beltane Cross-Quarter Day – May 4th, Summer begins

 

Full Moons

March Full Moon  – March 8th – Worm Moon (worms seen above ground)

April Full Moon – April 6th Pink Moon (pink Phlox Blooms)

May Full Moon – May 5th – Corn Planting Moon, Full Flower Moon (flowers are abundant)

Full moons always rise near sunset

 

Seasonal Events

Animals: Chipmunks emerge from hibernation

Birds: Waterfowl begin northward migration, Early nesting species begin breeding, you begin to hear birds sing

Flowers: In bloom – Skunk Cabbage, Snow Trillium, Marsh Marigold, Spicebush, American Hazelnut, Eurasian plants

Trees: Tree buds swell, pollen released

Bumble Bee sips nectar form a Rhododendron flower

Citizen Science to Participate In:

Project Feederwatch – Project Feederwatch is still going on. It ends the first Friday in April. http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/index.html

Ruby-throated Hummingbird 2012 Migration http://www.hummingbirds.net/map.html

Migration Northward has BegunYou can keep an eye on the process of spring at The Journey North. The program is for students K-12. It focuses on observing the progress of animal migration and seasonal change. http://www.learner.org/jnorth/

Project BudBurst – keep records on the blooming times of plants

Eastern Pennsylvania Phenology – help with blooming and fruiting times of plants

Monarch Watch

That’s all for this issue. Look for the next Naturalist News at the beginning of summer.

Sleeping Robin chick
Sleeping Robin chick

6 comments

  1. Thanks for the news and the gorgeous photos. I did not know about the earlier blooming of the Eurasian plants – very interesting. The three bulbs you named – crocus, daffodil and snowdrop – are such fixtures in our landscape now that it’s hard to imagine spring without them!

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