Monday, March 31, 2008

The First New Growth (You'll Need to Squint)

Yes, I do know you're going to have to look closely to see this one, as it's smaller than the oak leaf next to it. I had to look closely, too. This is the first new growth that I've seen in the woods around the cabin so far this spring. It's going to be a dog-toothed or yellow violet. The multi-colored leaves give it away. My second photo is still a mystery plant. Those seedlings are tiny--notice the acorn next to them.

The weather was warmer this weekend, and if I didn't stand in the wind or the shade, and if I kept moving, it almost felt warm. Still after winter, even a few days with that many caveats can't prevent new growth from starting, though it's still slow. Lower down the mountain I've already seen coltsfoot blooming--the plant looks exactly like a dandelion except it has no leaves. I can't quite count that yet, though, as it's not blooming up where I am, but I know it won't be long before I see that.

Bird migration, or at least sightings of the small birds, was also a bit slow this March, likely because the month will end up being slightly cooler than average and quite a bit drier. I've yet to see blue-gray gnatcatchers or hear a towhee. The phoebe, killdeer and Red-winged blackbird remain my only true migrants to arrive and set up shop--and none of these three had far to travel to get here.
It's the time of year when the old season is gone but the new season still hasn't picked up much steam. It won't take much, though. One spring rain followed by a day of sunny weather is about all it will take.


Dana Jones said...

These tiny seedlings look like a flowering plant of some kind, the way they are clustered, like a seed head dropped to this place last summer.

Anonymous said...

Are yu sure that the plant is not Trout Lilly?


Carolyn H said...

Dave: In this area, the terms trout lily and dog-toothed violet are the same thing.

Dana: I don't know what the little seedlings are yet. Until they get some of their real leaves, I can't even guess what they are.

Carolyn H.

dguzman said...

We had first-of-year tree swallows yesterday, so I hope we see more migrants soon! I've also seen posts on the listserv about yellow-rumped warblers, American bitterns, and other early arrivals.

Carolyn H said...

Dguzman: I've been hoping for tree swallows--no luck yet.

Carolyn H.

Jennifer said...

I agree with "Anonymous" I think your multi-colored leaves are trout lily. But knowing that wildflowers often have many common names, perhaps we are still talking about the same thing... I often see those collections of seedlings and I always promise myself to go back to see what they turn into... But I always forget... Hope you can solve the mystery (and enlighten me!)

Carolyn H said...

Note to all: Trout lily, dog-toothed violet and yellow violet are all common names for the same plant. The name I hear most commonly is dog-toothed violet, but trout lily isn't far behind that.

Carolyn H.