I celebrated the first day of March by bundling up and braving the cold for a morning walk. I started first on Head Beach and was pleased to find a number of shells to brighten up my walk on a gray day. There were a lot of Razor Clam shells so I busied my self picking them up to announce the new month. The letters are made entirely of Razor Clam shells except for the small cross piece in the A where I used a small Ribbed Pod shell (a relative of the larger bivalves). If you look closely, above the letters is the path of a bird that drags its toes. I would guess it was made by a crow. The Herons have not arrived, and if they read the weather forecast, they would head back south. We are expecting up to a foot of new snow overnight! (I thought this was March.)
I walked the length and breadth of the beach watching my step because there were ice patches over the sand where there was a runoff. I did stop to take this next picture. Look at it for a minute and see if you can figure out what is happening here. If I had been walking in the woods, I might have thought a bare birch was threatened by fire! Actually, this scene was repeated regularly as the tide washed back making rivulets in some of the darker patches of sand. It looked like someone had painted this picture which by now is under the tidal waters.
I walked on, watching my step, and counted 3-4 Surf Clams that had been opened and devoured by gulls. Those are the winter diet for the gulls. The crabs stay in deeper water and are not as available in cold weather. I continued my careful trek over to the other beaches, which in some cases were blocked by solid ice. Yesterday we had had a lot of melting, but today it was frozen again. It was a case of looking for snow to walk on, or bare ground, for footing. On my way back, I stopped by the side of Island Road (which was clear of ice, but frozen solid) and found my first sign of spring. You see it here to the left. Sorry, but they are not Pussy Willows! These were growing, almost out of reach......but what a welcome sight to see these fuzzy catkins emerging from their shiny protective bud scales. It's almost as if they are trying to get a jump start on spring, and taking a chance along the way. At least they come equipped with a fur coat. If I am not mistaken, these are the catkins of a Poplar tree called Quaking Aspen. Catkins, remember are the floral part of a plant, and may be male or female, or both. In the case of this tree, the gender of the flower is on separate trees. It is the same with Pussy Willows. Another difference between these catkins and those of willows is the nature of the bud scale. Here you can see there are several scales wrapped around the flower. In the case of willow, there is just one scale, sort of hooded in shape.
Here it is March 2nd, and the snow is coming down like crazy. We still have power, but I have filled multiple jugs of water for emergencies. The logs for the wood burning stove have diminished in numbers, after our last outage. It is in the twenties outside, so if worst comes to worst, I'll put things from the freezer outside.
3/2/09 Ronnie on the march.........