Wednesday, 14 May 2014

First Spring Flush

I think this is the latest in any year that I have seen the first flush of spring leaves. It is May 14 2014 and I saw the tops of distant aspen trees showing green leaves, finally. It has been a long drawn out winter, not real cold but long. November through almost mid May is too long. We had snow and still daytime highs barely above freezing last week. Farmers are just getting started field work and seeding into cold, wet soil. No canola yet just cold tolerant seeds such as peas and fava beans.
Canada Goose incubating her clutch of new generation

Birds are nesting irregardless of the chill. Patient mothers sit quietly on nests of down and grass diligently keeping precious eggs perfectly warm. I have been watching a goose that is setting on a nest nestled onto the top of an old, round hay bale. She began her vigil on the weekend of April 19. It will be interesting to see when she crosses the field with her goslings in tow.
I am also watching a pair of Swainson's hawks guarding their lofty pile of sticks high in the top of an aspen tree in a small copse beside a farmers hay field. This field will be full of field mice, a Superstore of great shopping right in their neighbourhood. One of the hawks has been on constant guard, watching for marauding magpies and crows. Everyday, on my route to work, I see at least one hawk watching and several predators nearby, just in case the guard falls asleep. Today I see the first few leaves begin to hide the hawk nest. By next week I will not be able to see the nest. Good luck to all the patient mothers on this Mother's Day week, and watchful Dads out there.
Swainson Hawk guarding it's hidden nest as first aspen leaves emerge.

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