The Glory of Spring

Shooting Stars

One of my favorite places to be in spring is home, especially in April as the earth is waking up. Here is a sampling of what we have seen in the past two weekends of this springtime celebration.

 

Jackrabbit

Northern California had enormous precipitation this past winter; devastating for some communities, but plentiful for all. As a result, we have had abundant new growth.

 

While there have been many gorgeous flowering fruit trees and landscaped plants in town, I especially love the spring show in the forest mountains.  Wildflowers have begun their emergence, trees express their accelerated growth, and the wildlife have new goals.

 

Indian Warrior

 

Violet-green Swallow, male; newly arrived for the spring

The bird populations change, too.

 

Year-round birds start to sing differently, busy with the activity of attracting a mate and starting a family.

 

California Quail, a year-round bird

Migratory birds that wintered here are leaving for the season, headed north to nest in their homeland. Hermit Thrushes are gone now, and every day I hear a few less Kinglets.

Black-headed Grosbeak (male); a highly anticipated spring arrival

Other migratory birds that left us in fall, are gradually returning for the warm months. The Bluebirds and Violet-green Swallows have come back, vying for the nest boxes as usual; the Olive-Sided Flycatchers have not yet returned, and I haven’t heard the California Thrasher either…but they will come along when it gets a little warmer.

 

They all remind me that cold, dreary days really are going to recede.

 

And all I need to hear is the first “spic,” to know that the Black-headed Grosbeak has returned.

 

Pacific Chorus Frog

Then there’s the nightly symphonics of the Pacific Chorus Frog at the neighbor’s pond. This little frog, about the size of my thumb, in concert with thousands of others, creates such a cacophony in the dark!

 

Lately I’ve been hearing Great Horned Owls dueting at night. Click here for this owl’s call.

 

Wild Violet

During the drought, some wildflowers didn’t bloom, some oaks didn’t produce acorns. It is their way of conserving energy.

 

This year the wildflowers are abundant. But true to wildflowers, they come and go with each day, depending on the severity of the wind and rain.

 

We can have a big patch of Indian Warriors one day, and a few days later they have already started melting back into the earth.

 

Miner’s Lettuce

Some of the flowers are bright and bold, others are subtle, like Miner’s Lettuce.

 

And the poison oak–although it is beautiful in shiny new, red leaves, is already chest-high in some places, and as daunting as ever. This plant is virulent every year regardless of drought.

Poison Oak

Western Bluebird (male)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Western Fence Lizard

Every season I am reminded of the  heavenly glories of life on earth. But the hope and brightness of spring, well, it a supreme pleasure.

 

Have a happy weekend, my friends~~

 

All photos by Athena Alexander.

Easter Bunny

 

 

 

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101 thoughts on “The Glory of Spring

    • It took Athena many years of attempts to capture the colors of the violet-green swallow, I am delighted you appreciate this, Cindy. The swallow was in the right light and perched, which doesn’t happen often; it lasted about one second. I’m glad you enjoyed the spring post, thank you for your visit.

  1. Beautiful Spring and all its wonders and colours of nature. Such superb photos…. magnificent! Wishing you both a Happy Easter, Jet and Athena. Have a lovely break and holiday! 🙂

    • Yes, so many wonders and colors of nature in spring, so true, Iris. Thank you for your visit, wonderful words, and kind wishes — my warmest wishes of joy to you, Iris.

  2. Jet, thank you so much for sharing the glorious spring occurring in your area. The photo of the flowers, birds and especially the Pacific frog are lovely. How fortunate that the draught has given up to the many storms that have been visiting the west coast this past winter. They have brought joy to the returning birds and other animals knowing that they now have a supply of food and water for their future families; plus giving refreshing beauty for humankind. The northwest has experienced the same storms this winter and have continued tediously through the spring but starting to ease up. On the days with the sun filtering through our forest and warming the ground the plants have started to sprout leaves and buds; the birds sing their chorus starting in the early morning. New life in the spring has its purpose. Enjoy your days.

    • It was an utter delight to receive your comment, SWI, thank you. I love knowing how your section of the west coast is faring, and am glad to know you are enjoying the bounty of spring, too. Many thanks~~

  3. I am still chuckling at the Easter Bunny. Athena just gets better and better at capturing wildlife!
    Seriously though I feel so happy to see so much new life and vibrant color. Wonderful that California is now out of the drought. It is sad to know some have lost so much as the rains and snow poured down. Still on to new beginnings and spring.

    • Yes, we’ve very lucky the Easter Bunny makes a stop at our house, and it’s uncanny how Athena was able to capture it! Thank you for your visits today, Sue, especially since I believe you’re still in Africa on vacation.

  4. The beauty of spring was enjoyed through your wonderful words and Athena’s fabulous photos. I loved all the color, especially the Indian Warrior and Violet-green Sparrow. While I love the sound of the birds singing all day, there is something special about the transition to the sounds at night and how wonderful your evenings include an Owl duet. Thanks again for sharing the birds and the beautiful colors of spring, but I must admit my favorite photo of the group was the Easter Bunny!!

    • Thanks so much for your lovely comment, ACI. Yes, there really is something special about the night sounds, and owl duets are a pure joy. Birders apply phrases to bird sounds for memory purposes, and the great horned owl phrase is: “Who’s awake?” “Me too.” And that’s just what it sounded like. lol. Glad the Easter Bunny was your favorite, it was so unusual that he came by. My many thanks for your visit, and best wishes for a bright and spring-filled weekend.

    • Whenever I see wildflowers, Amy, even in Calif., I am reminded of your hero and mine, Lady Bird Johnson. I’m happy you enjoyed the wildflower and bird photos, and as always, appreciate your visit. 🙂

      • She sure is. I often think of Lady Bird Johnson during this time of year with tears. I haven’t seen wildflowers like I did last year and the year before. I guess it hasn’t been sunny and warm here like the previous years. 🙂

  5. Great gallery of photos my friend. I’m immune to poison ivy but not to poison oak. I’ve never seen a jackrabbit in person only photos… I’m curious to know if the bunny at the end is the “Jeticus sweetbun”

    • All right, HJ, now you got me laughing pretty hard. Yes, the bunny at the end is indeed “Jeticus sweetbun.” One of my favorite Easter movies is “Harvey” with Jimmy Stewart. and in it is a large invisible rabbit who is Jimmy Stewart’s friend. It’s a corny movie, but JS is really great in it, and I love the message. So I was making shadows and pretending I was Harvey. It’s all a bit silly, but there you have it. Thanks for the extra big laugh this morning, my friend — and have a lovely weekend.

  6. The Blue bird is one of my all time favorites!!! Stay away from that poison oak–it takes about 6 weeks to get rid of it.

    • We are happy because there’s a pair of bluebirds checking out their usual nest box. But this year there’s a Cooper’s Hawk, who eats small birds, that has taken up residency not far from that box. So we’ll see how that works out. As for poison oak, I have lots of experience with its devilish ways. My thanks, dear Bill, for your visit and comment — much appreciated.

  7. The colours in some of he birds you get there are truly amazing – almost like stained glass!
    Should I assume that Miners lettuce is edible as a salad plant?
    All the birds, creatures and plants you have posted here are wonderful but the Easter bunny takes the biscuit . . . is that a term you know?

    • I like the idea of stained glass colors, Alastair, in the birds; and am so glad you enjoyed the spring post. Glad you enjoyed the Easter bunny visit, and yes, I am familiar with that fun term, “takes the biscuit.” Here we say “takes the cake” but I love the “biscuit” version. Miner’s lettuce is a common wild plant, especially in shady areas, here in parts of Calif. The actual flower is about the size of a rice kernel and doesn’t last long, mostly you just see the little round leaf, which is usually about the size of a coin. I’ve read it is edible as a salad plant, but I’ve never seen it in salads, and have also read it has oxalates when eaten raw. It is called Miner’s Lettuce because early miners from the Gold Rush days ate it to prevent scurvy. Great question, and it’s always a true pleasure to hear from you, Alastair — thank you.

  8. Spring is such a wonderful time of year and your photos are gorgeous. I love your Western Bluebird – I’ve never seen anything like him. We call Jackrabbits ‘hares’ over here. (I’m always curious as to why Americans changed the names of so many things!) 🙂

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    • I enjoyed your comment, Susan, thanks so much. Our jackrabbits in the U.S. are actually hares too. The name changed from a Mark Twain book, when he was describing the hare with ears like a jackass (donkey), and eventually it got shortened to jackrabbit. It’s a joy to introduce the western bluebird to you, they are a very special bird. Many thanks~~

  9. Spring bounty! What a wonderful collection of words and pictures.
    That final shot is something else. Supreme skills and fast work by Athena…(Harvey is one of my all time favourite movies!)

  10. I like the Easter Bunny, made me smile:) Thanks for such a lovely series of spring signs from your area, great to see all the colourful flowers popping up everywhere. They have started to pop up here as well, but we are in the lilies and anemones stage.

    • That’s truly what I love, Andrea — signs of spring are different in every location, but they are all the same vibrant message. Delightful to have you visit and share your insight~~

  11. A bit late, but hoping you had a very hoppy easter, especially with that Easter Bunny visit! That certainly made me smile. I’m really looking forward to watching springtime arrive down at the creek next year. I had a very enthusiastic couple view the house yesterday, so that cheered me up. Maybe I’ll actually get to move some day. In the meantime, the weather finally seems to be settling down enough for us to get on with getting the house ready down south. This past winter certainly seemed to drag on forever, though the extra moisture was good.

    Athen’s shot of the violet-green swallow was stupendous. I know how difficult the swallows are to catch just right. I’ve tried, but no cigar… 😀

    • Athena was finally rewarded with a chance to photograph the violet-green swallow last spring when a pair were swooping around and house-shopping at a nest box near our back deck. She initiated several sessions of photographing when the sun was shining a certain way. And as swallows will be, the male perched for a second or two, and she clicked off a bunch. They’re not usually close to the ground, but they were for the nest box. I’m glad things are progressing forward in your own house activity, my friend, you both have been working so hard. Thanks so much for your visit, Gunta, and my best wishes for a productive week ahead.

    • Wonderful to receive your visit, Peta, and I’ll ride my magic carpet to your “place” with joy. It was great fun to share the northern California spring with you….

  12. Very exciting to witness California rebounding after suffering their long and painful dry spell.
    It was hard on the people, land, and wildlife who were all choked by years of wildfires and drought.
    At least this spring they can breath a sigh of relief and begin a fresh start.

    • We are indeed, breathing a sigh of relief, Eddie, and what a deep joy that is. When you live in a forest, fires during a drought are a constant threat; exit plans are rehearsed and vital documents are all in one folder. It has been part of the news for so many years, that I thought it would be nice to share this moisture-laden spring respite, and am glad you appreciated it. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment and kind words, dear Eddie~~

    • Thank you for your wonderful message, Kirt, and your visits. It was a pleasure to share the joys of spring with you. And I’m glad you had a good laugh with the Easter Bunny. 🙂

    • Spring is such a fantastic awakening, and it is a joy to share the northern California version with you, Helen. I always enjoy your visits at the salt marsh too. Many thanks~~

  13. Wondering how I can purchase the book “Wicked Walkabout”, not the e-book version. Your Aunt Harriet has read Golden Gate Graveyard and would like to read WW. I checked Amazon but it only listed it as an e-book.
    Will answer latest most special mailing soon. D

    • Such a lovely request to hear, Donna. Wicked Walkabout was only released in digital e-book format, so it is not possible to get it any other way. I’ll write you an email explaining more. Most gracious thanks for this delightful message and visit. 🙂

  14. Oh so beautiful, Jet!! I just LOVE Spring and to see all your glorious photos was magic. Thank you so much and what a great message you wrote as well. Enjoy Mother waking up as I am. I can’t wait to get my cam today and go hunting. 🙂 ❤

    • You know how quick a swallow is, not easy to capture. But they were nesting on our property so were here for a concentrated time, and occasionally perched — a good photo op. I never ever tire of watching a swallow flutter through the sky. Thanks for your visit today, RH — I enjoyed your flamingo post a lot.

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