Yesterday was the warmest day of the year so far, 74 degrees and I put on shorts when I went for my walk. The trout lilies and spring beauties were in fabulous full bloom, dotting the forest floor with yellow and white. Today an entirely different story, colder, cloudy and all the flowers were closed up tight when I took my stroll this morning. It was super birdy though and I was happy to be wearing my binoculars today. I saw yellow-rumped warblers- first this season, hairy, downy and red-bellied woodpeckers, (heard a sapsucker, but couldn't spot it), a flock of field sparrows, white-throated sparrows, ruby crowned kinglet, and the usual suspects, jays, tits, chickadees, juncos, big flocks of robins bopping along the roads, crows and red-shouldered hawks. Most exciting was a barred owl that flew up out of Tilley's Branch as I walked past and perched in a tree above the trail staying long enough for me to take a nice look, but not close enough to get a decent picture. It was a handsome bird, very chestnut brown, the white lines barring the back quite clear, the breast soft white with long, vertical brown streaks, positively regal.
Brightening up the gloom of the dayIn the woods there are these large drifts of daffodils, washed down from a long ago homestead and spread through the lowland by high water and squirrels I guess. They've been in bloom now for almost a month.
Last night we watched an episode of NOVA Earth From Space (you can stream it on your computer from this link or go to www.PBS.org). Everyone should check this out, it's about what satellites orbiting the earth for the past 30 years have revealed about the interconnectedness of things on the planet. Like the fact that phosphorous filled dust storms blowing off the Sahara desert cross the ocean and fertilize the rain forest, or that lightening strikes (40 per second or 3 million per day around the globe) cause nitrogen ions to separate and link with oxygen, creating nitrates which fertilize the earth and in turn provide humans with nitrates through food which helps build proteins and DNA, or that plankton blooms in the oceans are as much the lungs of the earth as the rain forest. Really astounding, amazing science that also discusses global warming and the problems that might occur as a result of the way we are changing the earths atmosphere with the additions of carbon, sulphur and other pollutants. Check it out.