Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Signs of Spring at the Spa

Yes! Yes! YES! Despite the forecast for heavy snow by Friday, this sunny little Coltsfoot tells us that Spring has sprung at last! I found it blooming along a stream in the Saratoga Spa State Park, where I went today to stretch my legs -- which wasn't so easy to do, what with lots of snow still carpeting the woods and sheets of slippery ice where trails climbed the hills.

But along the streams there was open ground, just right for easy strolling and lingering along sun-warmed banks.

I heard Phoebes calling in a Cottonwood tree by a bridge that crossed the stream. A common nickname for Phoebes is "Bridge Bird," since these birds like to nest under bridges. I searched that Cottonwood but could not see that little bark-colored bird, although I did spy these fat glossy buds, all shiny and fragrant with sticky resin.

There were benches along the stream, which would have been pleasant to sit on if they weren't still buried in snow. Oh look, there's a little plaque on the back of the bench.

Somebody must have spent a lot of good times here with Ginger.

I had seen lots of canine footprints in the snow along here, and I wonder if some of them could have been those of coyotes. Something brought down this deer and subsequently ate it.

After seeing those bloody bones in the grass, I was startled to come upon this scene, which looked like gallons of blood had spilled out of the earth.

But that gore-colored stuff was only rust that formed when this iron-rich spring spilled over the bank. If you click on this photo, you can see the drops of spring water arcing out of the spigot.

The Saratoga Spa State Park has many mineral springs (that's why Saratoga Springs has that name), and I tasted all that I came across. Except for this one, called the Geyser. Many summers ago, I used to wade across to climb up on its heavily mineral-encrusted rock, but the water was still too cold to do that today.


Sandra @ Albany Kid said...

Hold on tight to these signs of spring cause more snow is on its way!

Anonymous said...

While you may not have encountered many signs of spring, you certainly found interesting 'stuff' - I'm hoping that after the rain tomorrow, my next hike on The Giant will show more spring - hope the snow is a myth for you - one of those over-exaggerated weather forecasts! I recall another spring during which I thought, "will it EVER get here" - it came - hold onto that thought!

Louise said...

A very interesting walk today. The rust color was amazing. So many lovely sights to see where you live, from natural ones like you showed us today, to the wonderful village, to the historic track. You live in a great place.

Woodswoman Extraordinaire said...

That mineral spring IS gruesome! So jealous that you've found coltsfoot. I need to engage in a diligent hunt for some this weekend. I could use a sign of spring!!

Ellen Rathbone said...

You beat us! The only flowers I've seen so far have been skunk cabbage and today some crocus.

Neat blood/rust photos! I can see how it gave you pause.

I hope to get back outside Saturday - to photograph the burn if nothing else. I hope the weather holds. :)

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Thank you, dear readers, for stopping by to leave your comments and encouragements. I'm always happy to have you along on my excursions.