Monday, April 11, 2016

Spring Pokes the Pause Button

This cold spell has been unrelenting.  Maybe later this week the weather will warm, but with still-below-freezing nights and still-frigid days all last week, it seems that nothing much has changed in the woods.  Well, HARDLY anything.  I ventured out to Bog Meadow Nature Trail Sunday afternoon, and I did note a wee bit of progress.

For one thing, the Skunk Cabbage spathes are all wide open now, and I love how those spathes have not only swelled but have lengthened and swirled in lovely voluptuous curves.

At first glance the swamp seemed as brown as it's been all winter, but a closer look revealed that the Marsh Marigold plants have begun to put out their green leaves.  It won't be long before the marsh is carpeted with the color of sunshine!

Along the little brook that follows the trail, I also spied some new growth on Water Avens plants.  Granted, these unprepossessing little flowers won't alter the landscape much when they bloom, but their leaves add a sprightly green aspect to the wakening woods.

It's hard to believe that a fungus would fruit with the nighttime temperatures still falling well below freezing, but seeing is believing.  And how did I manage to see this pitch-black Devil's Urn (Urnula craterium)?  Well, I was searching for the leaves of Spring Beauty and not finding a single one in a patch that I know will be carpeted with them, if only the weather would warm.  Wow!  What a cool mushroom!  A new one for me!

So that was about it for new finds at Bog Meadow yesterday.  But the day was young, so I ventured over to Spier Falls Road along the Hudson River at Moreau.  The road there is lined with spectacular spring-watered boulders that hold the sun's warmth.  Maybe I'd find some new spring growth among those sun-warmed crannies.

At first glance, that prospect didn't seem too promising, since icicles still hung from the rocks and more ice had coated the twigs and vines that hung over some tumbling cataracts.

AHA!  I FOUND something spring-like!  One of those ice-coated shrubs hanging over the splashing stream had sprouted little green leaves that sure look like those of Gooseberry.

And tucked in among the roadside boulders were these burgeoning buds of Early Saxifrage.  The rosettes of their pretty red-tinged serrated leaves have endured intact through the snow and ice and cold of winter, as well as this wintery spring.  But those tight little buds were not in evidence just a few weeks ago.  So yes, there is progress.  With a little more warmth, these roadside boulders will be a veritable rock garden, glorified by the lovely white flowers of Early Saxifrage set among the vivid greens of rock-clinging mosses.

Here's a particularly beautiful clump of mosses I found on those spring-watered boulders.  I love how those russety fern-like leaves of Thuidium have punctuated a splendid clump of soft-green, hair-fine Dicranum.  They probably looked just like this all winter long (mosses don't change much with the seasons), but they still spoke SPRING! to me.

1 comment:

The Furry Gnome said...

Some interesting finds! We've had the sme puse button, but it has included snow, so not much happening yet.