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Posts Tagged ‘Spring Peepers’

Mr. Mallard on a log w:reflectionMr. Mallard resting  upon a log.

I noticed him while driving down the Cutoff, stopped the car, pulled my camera out, rolled the window down and took his photograph. He seemed quite content sitting there. I rolled the window up and off I went, noticing a resident of the house across the way. He was watching me watching Mr. Mallard.  It was when I downloaded the photo that I noticed Mr. Mallard’s reflection in the murky pond. Both Mr. Mallard and his reflection, contemplating a growing family, perhaps, and listening to a full chorus of spring peepers, who were practicing for their evening performance.

Sometimes, the rehearsal is better than the actual performance.

*Bryology

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DSCN7733Something white caught my eye.  There they were, a generous mass of springtime, clustered on the ground as we were leaving Brookfield Zoo on Wednesday; snowdrops – and not the cold, wet, flakey kind!

The trees are starting to bud. The grass is greening. My daffodils are inching forward and many are showing plump, yellow tips. Best of all, there is a full chorus of spring peepers down the road in the little pond.

A walk in the Little Red Schoolhouse Woods had this little miss swinging her coat like a kite and her shadow skipping along the path,

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and this young lad hugged his Papa for a long, long while and then he explored the nature center.

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Today we will color Easter eggs and perhaps watch trains go by, as our Ezra really loves trains, and we will have some quiet moments as we reflect upon the gift of Easter.

Peace and  blessings to each of you.

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DSCN4384DSCN4387There are signs of spring all around me now; frivolous fragments of life emerging from the still cold soil. What a wonderful time of renewal it is here on the Cutoff.

 

Tom and I pulled up to the Dean Nature Sanctuary on Thursday afternoon. It is a new discovery of local conservation for me. Though it is along a road that I travel numerous times each week, I had no idea of its existence. Isn’t it an unexpected gift when we discover this gems in life?

 

Just as we were getting out the car, up from the pond arose a magnificent blueish white specimen; a great blue heron! He spread his expansive wings, swooping up and away, catching my breath and taking it with him.

 

This week has been full of such blue heron moments; from the first daffodils to open, to the slow budding of trees, and the exclamatory chorus of the spring peepers in the pond. I am awash in the glee of springtime.

 

Yesterday, while at the Morton Arboretum, I pulled into a glen that is usually blocked off. There were several photographers positioned with their tripods and professional cameras and binoculars. I slipped as quietly as I could out of the car, my small, abused Nikon in the palm of my hand, and gazed as the small, blue birds dipped and dived, disappeared and came forward again in their springtime flurry of activity. I smiled as the phrase “the bluebird of happiness” came to mind. A few paused on a branch, here or there, and I captured them, forever, in my mind.

 

The daffodils were just beginning their show. Even in their prelude, they are so splendid I feel my heart applaud.

 

I headed toward Crawley Marsh, sure the peepers would be singing there. They were, but, it was a white egret that caught my eye. He came from the west and swooped and swirled in a figure eight; close then further then closer again as he danced on the wind above the water, suddenly stopping, a shiver in space, dropped straight down, breaking barely a wave, arising with his a fish in his mouth and soaring to wherever his table was set. There I stood, Yia Yia in her ancient lumber jacket, gasping “oh my”. An elderly couple scurried out of their sedan, wondering if it was the wood ducks I’d seen.

 

It’s amazing the conversations one has in blue heron moments. Have you had any lately?

 

 

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We took a walk in the Little Red Schoolhouse Woods on Saturday, enjoying the sunny day and the anticipation of spring that is in the air. As we walked, we noticed the swollen buds on the trees, the soft, furry tips of the pussywillow bushes. The prairie grasses were bent, bowing to the strong winds, and the water around the slough was glistening in the sun. While we couldn’t see them, we could hear the call of the Sandhill cranes, miles up, heading north for another season.

It was the first faint notes of a chorus that kept pulling us along the path, however. Tom remembered a spot from last year; a bench and a pond and a party of sorts. As we got closer, the sound intensified until we heard, for the first time this year, the spring peepers! 

Many of you asked what peepers were and I realized that they are a mystery to you. In fact, they were a bit of a mystery to me until just a few years ago when I came upon them performing nature’s symphony at the Morton Arboretum

. Peepers make one think of eyes and optics and vision, or something more sundry like a shady character who looks into women’s windows at night.

Spring peepers, Psuedacris crucifer to be more precise, are tiny frogs that inhabit swampy woodlands. In early spring, when the ice  has melted and the water and air begins to warm, the peepers debut. At only about 1.5 inches (38mm), they are difficult to see, but their singing can be heard from some distance and is often quite boisterous.

We sat on a bench for a spell, taking in the warmth and the wonder of nature, enjoying the spell of the musical moment.

Won’t you sit for a moment and listen as well?

Click here. Then click the listen button.

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” . . . In almost all climes the tortoise and the frog are among the precursors and heralds of this season, and birds fly with song and glancing plumage, and plants spring and bloom, and winds blow, to correct this slight oscillation of the poles and preserve the equilibrium of nature.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden:Or, Life in the Woods, Spring


We wandered the Little Red Schoolhouse woods on Saturday, soaking in the warm rays of sunshine as we walked around the slough. Birds were chittering and a squirrel darted out then into the brush again upon seeing us in his path. We could barely hear the primal honking of geese so far overhead that they could barely be seen. Unlike their messy cousins, who now choose to winter over in our neck of the woods, these Canadian geese were headed further north.

Walking in the woods on a mid-March afternoon is not always easy as the paths are often muddy, especially after all the snow this winter. The slough was close to the path at some points and will host herons and cranes soon enough.

We stopped for a spell on a bench not as muddy as the one above and the glee club performed; first one, then another, then the entire ensemble of spring peepers, warming up and serenading after the long winter’s sleep. Click here and then click on the voice link on the right to hear these little fellows.

The woods are so interesting this time of year; not yet ready for spring and no longer in winter. Everywhere we looked, we could the swelling of buds, the moss on the trees, and the promise of cattails. I love to see the changes already in place and the things we don’t see, like the fallen trees and the interesting shapes of rotting logs.

Such wanderings always bring me back to Thoreau and his life in the woods alongside Walden Pond.

Next time we walk here, I hope I will find Jack-in-the Pulpit, which surprised me last year. Who knows what flora and fauna lurks in these woods and what surprises will greet us next time.

How about you? Where are you walking about these days and what have you seen?

I loved all the fungi growing on this dead tree which was where the peepers were singing.

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