HAS SPRING SPRUNG? What a difference a year makes! Last year at this time, we were still dealing with snow and ice patches. This year, we've had a string of mild days that has me listening for frogs! Some people have heard the wood frogs in chorus, but I haven't been so lucky. I did see the first Osprey on Sunday, overlooking the shoreline at Dromore Bay. A flock of Robins and Grackles are hopping and flying on the fields. On the domestic scene, crocuses are in bloom and my Lupine are starting to send up leaves. It is cleanup time in the garden! I've seen catkins on shrubs expanding and sending pollen to the wind. Those you see here are from Speckled Alder. Catkins, so named since they look like the tales of cats, are actually a flower of a male variety. The female counterpart is usually less obvious, but sits separately waiting to catch the pollen and start making seeds. Isn't seed making interesting?!
I did take time to walk the beaches over the weekend, finding more human foot prints than those of deer! Kids had been out making sand castles, and no doubt adults were taking in the sun. I was interested in the beach debris. Last week I found a small live Moonsnail at Totman Cove, but on Head Beach I picked up a bag full of huge empty Moonsnails. These mollusks usually remain in deeper water, though we know they dine on the clams that live here. There were also quite a few live Surf Clams that had been left by the tide. I walked along, throwing them back into the water, wondering why the gulls were not devouring them. Maybe they had had their fill. Seaweed was abundant on the beach, apparently pulled from their holdfasts in recent high surf. I could have had breakfast on the Edible Kelp, but wondered how long it had been lying around. The midrib of that Kelp is quite tasty if fresh. If anyone was out looking for seaweed for their gardens, there was a load to pick up.
I made my way across Sanddune Beach to Sunset Lagoon where there has been a lot of sand erosion. I climbed across the slippery rocks to that rocky inlet where we have stopped to make Inuksuks using the many interesting rock forms. I sat there and made a stone bird before climbing up to higher dry ground. I have a feeling the tide will remove the bird and rearrange its stones.
It is such fun to amble through the campground in the off season. Everything is quiet, and at this time of year, the views are larger since the leaves are still down. In many sites, the ocean is visible, though tree growth will hide those views and create a more inner beauty of a site. Just being among trees, with their curving branches and inviting limbs, is inviting. There are no bugs to bother you, though I am beginning to check for ticks.
I headed back to the main entrance, looking along the way for signs of life and animal activity. All was quiet, except for a few squawking gulls, perhaps still dining on those Surf Clams. Those birds are starting to pair up, and their plumage has taken on brighter colored feathers. I always think the gulls have had a new "paint job" in the spring with pure white feathers adorning their heads. I saw where a few had found crabs, so those animals have returned to shallower waters. I also turned over rocks and saw small Sea Stars and Urchins, and lots of Amphipods that wiggle out of sight in no time. The shoreline is coming alive as spring is in the air. Tra la! 3/23/10 Ronnie, chasing spring........