Liquid water

Today’s big news is that throughout our local area, water exists in liquid form on the surface of the planet, for the first time in I don’t know how long. And beginning this coming Sunday, March 1, the weather forecast calls for at least four consecutive days with temperatures above freezing! Maybe within that period we’ll see snow melting around the bases of trees, skunk cabbage budding, robins beginning to arrive in waves–something springlike. Maybe. By last year at this time, the base of one of my big Norway maples looked like this:

DSC_3890

This year, the snow is still over a foot deep around the tree.

The ring of melted snow is caused by heat reflected off the dark bark of the tree (not, as I had thought, kinetic energy resulting from running sap). But speaking of sap, we can expect sugaring season once daytime temperatures go above freezing fairly consistently, as they are expected to next week.

One of our earliest arriving spring migrants is the red-winged blackbird, and according to the Journey North site for that species, one was seen in the Teaneck Creek Conservancy on Feb. 22. I’ve heard other anecdotal reports of local sightings, so keep a lookout near streams and wetlands, prime nesting sites for these lovely and loquacious birds.

Speaking of wetlands, I would expect to see snow melting around skunk cabbage very soon, if it hasn’t started already. This weekend will be a good time to get out in the field and take a look.

It’s hard to believe, but within just two or three weeks we can expect to see flowers on early blooming species like vernal witch hazel, native hazelnuts, and, or course, early spring flowering bulbs. Keep a lookout next week if the weather really does warm up, and don’t forget to order your seeds and to start your seeds indoors. Why, it’s almost time to start your tomatoes!

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