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