Friday, April 27, 2012

Mayapples and mornings

Mayapple blossom
Last evening I found the first mayapple blossoms, and as with everything else in 2012, the blooms are early. In fact April 26 is my earliest record for them, but I haven’t been keeping records of mayapple blooms for very long. I’m starting to wonder if anything that grows or migrates will appear or disappear at a normal time in 2012 because so far everything is out of the normal range.

My latest record for mayapples was May 13 in 2009. Usually, the blossoms appear the first week of May. May 3-7 are typical dates. The mayapple in today’s photos didn’t have any umbrella-like leaves overtop to shade it. The stems looked as though the leaves were eaten off, as opposed to not having appeared yet. I suspect a rabbit.

Most of the animals I’ve been “seeing” around the cabin this week are really animals I’m hearing. I’ve heard turkeys gobbling somewhere over by the new pond and at least partway down the mountain. They gobble right at dawn and the sound is somewhat distant. I keep trying to pinpoint the location of their roost tree, but so far I haven’t narrowed the location very much. During the work week I don’t have time to go wandering down the mountain looking for turkeys, and on the weekends I resist getting up before dawn.

I’ve also been hearing a screech owl performing a call that’s not the usual descending screech. This call is more like a monotone screech or twitter. This morning the call was finally close enough to the cabin for me to be sure it wasn’t some other, rarer species of owl making the sound.

This weekend I will attempt to head down the mountain to walk along the stream, assuming I don’t encounter more mud than is hike-able, a possibility given that rain is predicted for tomorrow. I will look for turkeys or turkey scratchings and for flowers that aren’t the ones I see up on the hill where the ground is drier. I don’t plan to hike at dawn, though. Even the idea of seeing wild turkeys on a roosting tree can’t get me up that early on a Sunday morning.

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