My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Spring is Springing Out All Over

Spring always starts slowly, but in the south, it soon starts stumbling over its own feet in it's rush to get every living thing moving.  The first sign of spring was way back in late January, when the swamp maples bloomed.  Their tiny red blooms are barely noticeable until they fall on the ground.  But now the swamp maples are a blaze of red color, as their seed pods are ripening and all of them area beautiful shade of bright red.

Swamp maples seed pods

Several days ago, I heard a rustling at my window.  This lovely Polyphemus moth was at the window, trying to get out. I opened the window and then it decided that it was happy there.  So I took its picture before pushing it out to resume its short life.  Today there were several species of butterflies fluttering around, but I didn't try to photograph them until it was so hot, they would barely settle, before flying off again. But there are at least two species of sulfur butterflies as well as a couple of other species I don't know. 

Yesterday, I went to Crooked River and rode my bike around while birding.  I also went out of the park and through a neighborhood where I found many signs of spring. 

Plum tree?

Saucer magnolias
And the robins are leaving.  Today I was only able to count six where I  usually count 50 -200.  I caught this guy sprucing up before his trip north while at Crooked River State Park.

I'm keeping a patch list while I'm here, so decided to check out part of it this morning. The first thing to catch my eye was this glorious Caroline jasmine, just at the edge of my "yard".  It was attracting bees and butterflies, but all were way too high for me to photograph them.

Carolina jasmine

A closer view
 Then everywhere I went, I saw more spring activity.  Tree buds were busting out all over.  Many also had blooms.

Baby leaves

Leaves and blooms

More buds bursting out

And we may have had the first of our spring warblers visit. The only thing I can match this terrible picture to is a young female northern parula, because it looks like its throat will be yellow.  Hopefully Judy Bell, Bruce, or another birder can help me out here.  The turkey vultures have been moving through for the last ten days or so and we are also seeing some black vultures, which I hadn't seen all winter. And two mockingbirds seemed to be courting.

On my walk this morning, I also found this redbud tree.

Redbud blooms

Bladderwort have been blooming for several days in one of the bar ditches along the auto tour road.  I went down this afternoon to capture it.

Swollen bladderwort, Utricularia inflata, flower

I had to stop to take a picture of these strange little flowers.  They have  a unique kind of star-haped leaf cluster and the leaves are a little like succulent leaves.

And these little buds were on a scrawny sub-shrub, only about eighteen inches high.

If you know what that last two plants are, please let me know. I'll try to research them while I'm not so busy - that's when I'm waiting for customers in the Visitor Center.

So, what's new in your neighborhood?