Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring explosion!

Foggy morning on Roundtop

I can’t be the only one who thinks that trees leafing out in late March instead of early May verges on a scary abomination. Overnight, trees down off Roundtop Mtn. are past budding and are into the early leafing stage. It feels bizarre to me, and I despair of people who exclaim happily, “isn’t the weather wonderful?”
No, it is not wonderful.

We are a full 9 days before the end of March, a full two weeks before the time of a normal last frost, and now the appearance of leaves on trees is going on 6 weeks earlier than it should be.

Stink bugs, ticks and mosquitoes are out. As stink bugs are worst in the early fall, having them be numerous now is Not A Good Thing. An acquaintance reported picking 20 ticks off herself and her dog this past week. That is Not A Good Thing. Mosquitoes? Yikes! 
Fire danger is high and the forests are dry and crunchy. Yellow violets are blooming before the bloodroot (which will bloom for its one day of splendor later today) and both will be blooming 20+ days early.

Songbirds, especially warblers, normally migrate when the particular species of bug that normally appears in the particular layer of the forest canopy they inhabit first emerge. The bugs’ appearances are timed with the emergence of particular tree leaf buds. The bugs are here, the buds are here, but the birds can’t adapt to changing climate conditions so quickly. “Their” bugs will be gone when they get here. What will they eat as they try to fuel their migration north into the boreal forest? They are all probably still down in South America, happily fueling for the trip north, unaware that their “gas stations” in the eastern forest will be empty by the time they arrive.

If this is “wonderful” weather, give me something else.


Anonymous said...

I am with you. It scares me that all of these insects are out so early. There is also an insect I'm hearing here in suburban Philadelphia in the afternoon and at night, but I don't know what it is. It sounds sort of like a low-pitched, vibrating whistle. It's not cicadas or crickets. At any rate, hearing so much insect noise reminds me of July and August, not March!!

Carolyn H said...

I have spring peepers and wood frogs at night right now and they are loud. So I'm not hearing whatever nighttime insects might be around, too. It is weird to think of summer insects this time of year. If March feels like May, what will May feel like--July?

Anonymous said...

Oh, I didn't think of that, maybe what I'm hearing are frogs. We're not near any bodies of water, though.

Cathy said...

Hmm I thought of something, maybe visitors from another planet are controlling our weather ;)

but yea, everything is budding up here and you are like. its' nice but it's not right either. I'm sitting at my computer with the windows open a bit. Normal I do that in late April.

Carolyn H said...

Cathy: Visitors from another planet, hmm. I'm thinking it's some weird James Bondian type conspiracy, and James isn't winning this time!

Carolyn H said...

Anon: Perhaps you are hearing frogs. They don't need ponds, but they would need a wet area, a wet field or something like that.