SPRING EMERGENCES!
I am still learning new things and finding new flowers.....amen. It keeps me going! Here is my latest find. These slender bells were hanging from a rather spindly shrub in the woods of Totman Cove. The flowers were in sets of two, dangling down from opposite growing, green leaves without teeth on the edges. I went home and keyed it out, determining it was Fly Honeysuckle! I'd never seen or noticed it before!

The woods are now alive with unrolling ferns and budding flowers. My favorite fern at this stage is the Bracken which emerges like a clenched fist before unfolding its sizable frond display. Others arise covered with fuzz, as you see here. Incidentally, those fern "buds" are called croziers and I wonder if you know why? Shepherds and Bishops carry a pole with a curved top resembling the fern at this stage. Other interesting fern terms are fronds (leaves), indusia (covers on spore cases) and sori (spore or fruit dots). Some fiddleheads (croziers) are edible. You sometimes can find these available in supermarkets if the season is right. They are from a fern I haven't yet found in Maine, the Ostrich Fern. I used to eat the Bracken fiddleheads, but they are considered by some to be carcinogenic. The fiddleheads of the Cinnamon Fern, you see here might tickle going down.

Some trees are now providing shade, including the Horse Chestnut in our yard. Even the Oak leaves are expanding to feast on the sunlight. Have you ever tried to count the leaves on a tree? I would start with the large leaved Horse Chestnut with its beautiful, many lobed fan-like leaves. I guess it would be something like counting a huge gathering of geese in a Christmas Bird Count. I've heard that they count in a certain fragment of an area, and multiply to get a more accurate number of the moving flocks.

On that Totman Cove walk, a Green Frog was found in a wet area of the trail where rain had made a pool. This frog does not look green, but has the distinguishing dorsal ridges running down its back. We got talking about these frogs and how long it takes to metamorphose from egg to adult. Their tadpoles spend the winter in that form before becoming a true adult frog the following summer. Somehow, I thought only Bull Frogs did that. Incidentally, Green Frogs may also be olive or brown in color. We caught one of these frogs and turned it over for a look at its underside. It was quite mottled with dark spots or blotches.

The usual Maine biting bugs are starting to appear. I've yet to be bothered by mosquitoes, but the black flies are out and seeking bites when I garden. Bring on the bug spray! What would Maine be without these insects? Perfect, I guess. 5/15/09 Ronnie on the move.