Monday, April 09, 2007

Misty Mountains

Winter was late arriving, but now so is spring. Here on the mountain, I have had snow showers every day for the last 4-5 days. Some were just a few flurries, others were full-fledged squalls. On Saturday, the temperature never got above the mid-30’s. I have yet to see a butterfly, and the arrival of summer birds has slowed. Spring growth on the mountain is almost non-existent, but when I drive off the mountain and down into the valley, growth is much further along.

The late spring might be a big boon for warblers—at least I hope so. Before global warming, warbler arrival was well-timed to match the appearance of spring leaves and insects. The past several years, the early warming means the leaves were out and the hatching insects already dispersed, leaving little food for the birds on the trip north or on their nesting grounds. Warbler populations have plummeted, and though early springs aren’t the only cause for this, it is one of the major factors. Perhaps a “late” spring that’s actually closer to the normal spring of years past will help their reproductive success and population this year.
I took the photo this morning looking towards the mist-shrouded hills to the east of Roundtop. It was below freezing and chilly this morning—though at least the blustery wind of the weekend has calmed.

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