What does Spring mean to you? How do you know it’s Spring? On the first warm day, I love to walk around the Nature Preserve looking for signs of Spring. Somehow, I always take photos of the same things each year, but that’s OK, since Spring is a state of mind. Flowers are the first things I look for. Bright purple crocus are blooming in my yard, but the wild flowers aren’t so far along. Appropriately, Harbinger of Spring is a tiny wild flower which is one of the first to bloom.
The ice is gone on the Frog Pond, and three turtles were sunning on a handy log. Look closely – they aren’t all the same. The front and back two are painted turtles, while the center is a red-eared slider. If you walk too closely, they will slide to safety in the water, then pop back out again when things quiet down. In the shallow water along the pond’s edge tadpoles are already swimming around.
It wouldn’t be Spring without the birds singing, right? Actually, I notice the birds starting to sing around Groundhog’s Day in early February. The Robin is one of our favorite singers but they actually stick around all winter for the most part. Returning migrants seen at the Nature Preserve this week include Eastern Meadowlark and Red-winged Blackbirds. Maybe you have heard some Sandhill Cranes flying high overhead as they head to their breeding grounds up North.
We have four springs that run year-round, but when it rains in Spring they start popping out of the hillsides. This one right below the dam up Hidden Spring Trail is my favorite when it appears right under a rock!
The blue topped nest boxes are for Bluebirds, although other cavity nesters use them too. This year you may find some new and much larger nest boxes such as this Wood Duck box at the Frog Pond. You didn’t know ducks nest in boxes? Not all do, but the brilliantly colored Wood Duck is an exception. Hope they like our boxes. The box on a tall pole by the baseball dugout is for American Kestrels – a small colorful falcon. Keep your fingers crossed. Louisville Audubon Society paid for the materials, Cub Pack 984 and Doug Morales built the boxes, and our staff put them up.
But my favorite part of Spring is the clear blue sky and warm sunshine after weeks and weeks of gray! What tells you – Hey! It’s Spring!