Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Sunrise on a spring morning
My view of the western mountains is gone for another 5-6 months, a sure sign that the warm seasons are in full bloom. The leaves are not yet so full that I have lost my view of the sky, though that is not long away either. The tall oaks and hickories leaf out later than the beech and the smaller trees that strive not to be pushed out of the sun by their taller neighbors.
So considering that annual growth is still growing ever more lush by the day, it seems a little surprising that a few things are already dying back, done for another year. The earliest of the bloomers are already tossing seeds into the wind. Coltsfoot, that dandelion look-alike, has turned white and fuzzy, tall stems topped by the flat, white leftovers of the yellow flower. They remind me of straw hats, the kind called “boaters.” A few still retain vestiges of the yellow flower, though tomorrow they will be little boaters, too.
The warblers are about done here until fall. I had a nice few mornings dominated by chestnut-sided warblers. I don’t usually get many warblers on the side of the mountain, away from water, but I nearly always have a nice number of chestnut-sided. Or perhaps it’s only that they are easier to spot—they come down to the mid-level of trees instead of flitting through the tallest ones.
On a recent misty morning warblers that favor the top canopy were nearly impossible for me to identify. They were little gray silhouettes instead of flashes of color, and my poor hearing meant I can’t hear some of them . That’s a bad combination when trying to identify them. But chestnut-sided warblers are more cooperative. I can hear their little trill and they are low enough to see well and identify. They seem more curious than most of the others, too, frequently bouncing lower to get a look at me or the dogs.
This morning the sunrise was especially good, perhaps foreshadowing thunderstorms later today. Those are another sign of the warmer weather. So far the storms have been meek—a few rumbles of distant thunder, a gathering of clouds that never quite turned into a storm. That will soon change, I’m sure.