Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sure Signs of Spring

Winter has had a death grasp on Ohio this year.  It came early and in an act of defiance to all weathermen, it struck one last blowing snowstorm yesterday.  It least I hope it is the last of this year!

Turkey Vultures have returned.
One sign of spring is the return of Turkey Vultures. The City of Hinckley Ohio has an entire festival based on the return of Turkey Vulture. They do not migrate far south, but the do leave Richland County.  There are a few winter-holdouts found in Southern Ohio, but now that Turkey Vultures have officially returned to northern Ohio, spring can't be far behind.

Everyone I know who has worked with Turkey Vultures adore them.
Turkey Vultures are said to be incredibly smart and everyone I know who has worked with TUVUs adore them.  They must make up in personality what they lack in looks.  It was a pleasant surprise to have two roosting this morning in the tree at the back of my wood lot.

Gorman Nature's Woodcock Walk
 Spring is back when the Woodcocks return to the Gorman Nature Center.  Last night Jason Larson  led us out to  the prairie to listen for their "peent" call and whirling sky displays.  It is all about courtship.  What a male woodcock won't do to please the ladies!

Guy Denny, King of Ohio Prairies

Spring is here when Guy Denny travels throughout Ohio burning prairies!  He is certified to do the job safely and legally, and in great demand.  He tries to beat those spring season showers, and hopes to have the prairies ready for the April rains.

Jason Larson (G.N.C. new Director)  as the ultimate "Water-boy."
 This is the first time in ten years the Gorman Nature Center prairie has been burned.  Fear not, no Woodcocks were harmed in the controlled fire.  They might enjoy the open spaces for their courting displays.  It will be interesting to see.

Open water on the Clearfork Reservoir
Just in time for duck migration, there is now open water on the Clearfork reservoir.  It had the hardest freeze in years this winter!  It is a thrilling sight to have the gulls and ducks working the ice sheets along the edge of the open water.  The parking lot next to the dam is a prime viewing location for waterfowl watching in Richland County.

Witch-Hazel is now in bloom.
Last but not least, the Witch-Hazel, Hamamelis vernalis,  in my yard is in full bloom.  This is the earliest bloomer of all our Ohio shrubs and a welcome sight for the botanically deprived.

This may seem like a strange list of spring "firsts" but it is reliable, without question!  Weedpicker officially declares: Spring is here!

1 comment: