It's been a wild spring so far. With the weather so changable nothing is quite what is "normal" for the season. The flowers are getting a slow start. The lilacs not even blooming yet! The bellworts are blooming in the deeper woods, along with Wood Anemone and Wild Strawberry. The bloodroots have almost gone already, and the jack in the pulpits are just starting. If you walk in the woods you need to pay attention to see the violets, hugging the ground. The path by the bridge has a lot of them and will for several weeks.
The other creatures most affected by the weather are the birds. I am having an Oriole explosion at my feeders the last few days. They normally pass by in large numbers, but this year the cold and rain have stopped them from moving on. They love grape jelly, and if I don't have enough out there, the battles begin! Oranges are also a favored food, and a scattering of orange halves litters the ground under the feeders. Rose Breasted Grosbeaks have come back, looking for seeds. The hummingbirds have been hitting their feeders also. There have been many sightings of Scarlet Tanagers this year, along with Indigo Buntings. You normally do not see them in any great numbers, but this year they seem to be much more visible.
It is the time of the year when my walks slow way down. Between scanning the trees for warblers and trying to see what has sprung up out of the ground, I feel like if I move more than a step at a time, I will miss something! I am peering constantly at the developing leaves, trying to remember which plant had leaves like those, guessing what it might become. Temptation to mark specific plants and photograph them every week or so to watch their progression is kept in check only because I don't have markers, yet.
It is a great time to be out there. The mosquitoes are not yet out in number. You can see through the foliage yet to check out birds and things in the distance. Wood ticks are out, but not much worse than any other year. I find ticks are far more common in the long grass than in the woods. So go for a stroll along the roads. Wander along cattle paths. Put on your boots and walk upstream, or down in the creek. But stay off the river, it is still a bit on the wild side!