The first of the new spring wildflowers are out! Coltsfoot is up and blooming here on Roundtop Mountain. The only other blooms I found this weekend were two tiny spring beauties. Bloodroot is almost blooming and likely will appear today for the first of its one- or two-day annual extravaganza.
But yesterday was the day for the coltsfoot to appear, urged by the warm temperatures and the sun. Winter ended abruptly this year, replaced by a warm March. And though it feels to me as though it has been warm enough for long enough that the early blooms should have appeared before this, the reality is that they are blooming pretty much on time. In 2008 the first coltsfoot appeared on April 6 and in 2007 it was April 17, but that year a late cold snap likely affected them. In 2009 I didn’t record the date, but the blooms typically arrive the first week of April.
Coltsfoot is the earliest of the blooms I see here on the mountain. For years, I thought they were dandelions and didn’t pay much attention to them. Eventually I realized they had no dandelion leaves and that’s when I found out that are not dandelions at all. Coltsfoot isn’t native to this hemisphere, being among the huge number of plants brought over from Europe for their medicinal purposes.
On Saturday morning I left the mountain, dropped down about 650 feet in altitude and went to Pinchot State Park where I saw many more blooms. My best guess is that 650 feet in altitude equates to about a week’s difference between what I see on the mountain and what is happening down in the valley.
The good weather prompted large numbers of birds to fly north, starting on Friday. New arrivals on the mountain are eastern towhees, brown-headed cowbirds and chipping sparrows. Expect to see a lot of wildflower photos here at Roundtop Ruminations this week. Flowers are much better at sitting still than the birds!