Life in a cabin on a mountain in southern Pennsylvania
Monday, March 26, 2012
After a warm and sunny week, the weekend at Roundtop was a washout—until around 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon when the sun finally appeared. At that point, it was too late to do much exploring in the woods, and everything was still wet and dripping anyway. I did, however, retire to the back deck and spend an hour or so enjoying the feel of the sun on my neck.
I also saw the northbound migration of several black vultures, with a few turkey vultures that did not appear to be local adding to the mix. A red-tailed hawk that may or may not have been a local bird circled in a northbound direction, too. But the real drama came from the local pileated and red-bellied woodpeckers who were involved in a screeching match over something.
The pileated woodpeckers circled around the cabin, causing an awful racket. They would disappear, still screeching, to the north only to circle around from the south and swoop through the forest again, still raucous. The red-bellied woodpecker mostly ignored the pileated woodpeckers, holding its ground on a dead limb. When the pileated swooped by, the red-bellied would toss off some woodpeckery and possibly vulgar retort, and the whole drama would begin again. Who ever said the woods are quiet?
More flowers popped up in the woods, with coltsfoot, which is normally the earliest of the blooms, finally making an appearance. My favorite local fern, still growing out of a crack in a boulder along the edge of the lane to the cabin, has begun to unfurl its fronds. The rue anemone (or is it a spring beauty?) is blooming as well. When the leaves are no more unfurled than these are, I can’t tell the two apart, even when I have an identification guide in my hands.
The trees are beginning to leaf out, even up on Roundtop Mtn. Down in the valley and off the mountain, there’s no “beginning” about the leafing. They are out and are a good 6 weeks earlier than they should be, to boot.
I live in a cabin in the forests of Pennsylvania. I write about what I see and do in the natural world around me. I've been a hawkwatcher for more than 20 years, a birder for longer than that, and a crayfish-catcher since I was a polywog.