Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring is in the Air

I've been feeling a bit guilty about not getting any posting done at this blog. The twice-weekly posts for the Almanack keep me pretty busy with researching and writing, to the point where sometimes my own natural history blog is pushed to the back seat. Sometimes it can be a challenge to come up with natural history material for three different spaces!

That said, let me just make note here of some of the things that are happening around the central Adirondacks that indicate that Spring is rolling quickly our way.

First, the blackbirds have returned. From red-wings and cowbirds, to grackles and starlings (the latter not technically a "blackbird," as in a member of the Icterid family, but still a black bird none-the-less), these birds have been flocking to feeders and lawns in Newcomb for the last couple of weeks. I even heard geese one night last week (Newcomb isn't on any of the flyways, so we don't often see migratory waterfowl).

Second, the winter birds have been thinning out. That is to say, they aren't losing weight, but their numbers are declining. Fewer and fewer goldfinches are showing up at the feeders, although purple finch numbers have increased slightly. Evening grosbeaks are still hanging around, so perhaps they know something we don't.

Every evening when I walk the dog, I keep my ears peeled for the first woodcock. Last year I had a report of a woodcock in mid-March, although my records don't show them until the end of the month or even April. Still, this year things seem to be happening sooner than usual, so I'll remain vigilant.

The pussy willows in my yard have put out their fuzzy catkins, but this is nothing to go by, since they were out in December, too. I'm waiting to see them on the wild willows.

I've seen flies and assorted other buzzy insects zipping around the walls of the house (inside and out), and I've heard folks reporting seeing bees out already (although I suspect they are further downstate).

And although the tulips, daffodils and iris have shoved green shoots up along the foundation, I'm still waiting for that first dandelion to burst forth declaring the season has officially arrived. In the wild, I'll be looking for coltsfoot, spring beauty and trout lilies.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Faithful readers of this blog may have noticed that there have not been any new posts for five months! The four persons who contributed to the 20 natural history posts to-date on this blog decided to contribute their blog writing time to other more established blogs. Brian McAllister's blogs may be found on the Adirondack Explorer (http://adirondackexplorer.org/notes-from-the-field/) and Adirondack Almanack (http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/) blog sites. Larry Master contributes on a biweekly basis to the Adirondack Almanack, Ellen Rathbone posts twice weekly on the Adirondack Almanack and much more frequently on her Adirondack Naturalist blog (http://adknaturalist.blogspot.com/), and Phil Brown blogs at the Adirondack Explorer (http://adirondackexplorer.org/out-takes/) as well as once a week on the Adirondack Almanack. Please visit these other blog sites as it is uncertain if and when the Adirondack Natural History blog will be re-activated. :(