Sunday, May 10, 2015

May 10, 2015

Spring is popping out everywhere around the lake now;  the big event this week has been the trees going into bloom, as anyone with spring allergies will be able to tell you.  The thousands of flowers on every tree give an indication of just how much pollen can be disbursed into the air.  Look at the long flowers on the birch trees, each with gobs of pollen in them.
Birch tree in bloom

Some trees, such as the Service Berry (Shadbush) and the Hobblebush Viburnum, have much more noticeable flowers, providing cheery blossoms for mother's day.
Shadbush (Downy Serviceberry)

Hobblebush Viburnum

It's amazing how reliable the flowering of some of these trees are.  Even with the long winter and late spring the shadbush - so named because it flowers when the shad (used to) run in the rivers - are blooming within two days of their usual date. 

The maples trees are getting to ready to release their seeds in the form of miniature helicopters that will spiral with the wind in search of fertile ground many yards away from the tree that bore them.

These will soon be providing a feast for the chipmunks, fattening them up for the hawks and foxes.

Speaking of hawks, this week I spotted a much larger bird flying amongst the tops of the maple trees - a Broad-winged Hawk.

It landed in a tree right over me, giving a quick glimpse of it from below before returning to flight.
Broad-winged Hawk

Another amphibian was out this week, enjoying the nice weather and sunning itself right on the deck. 
Gray Tree Frog (Hyla versicolor)

The Gray Tree Frog is well camouflaged for its normal habitat in the trees;  it rarely descend to the ground except to breed, which it does in both vernal pools as well as permanent ponds without fish.  It does break its cover when it hops, flashing bright yellow spots on the inside of its legs.

A reminder if you're out enjoying nature:  the tics are plentiful this year.  They like to hang out on the edges of grasses and leaves, extending their legs with a glob of sticky goo on the end to instantly attach to anything that brushes against them.
Wood Tic
To not leave you with that vision, I did see a merganser this week.  Our good friends on the lake (who treated us to fresh-caught salmon straight from Lake Winnepesaukee and home grown rhubarb pie!) saw a dozen or so mergansers fishing by the outlet.  So I guess they are still passing through the Lakes Region.   Be sure to note the fish in its beak!

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