Life Renewed

There is much to quicken the pulse at this time of year. So much to see, hear and appreciate.

April 12, 2021 | | Notes from the Wild

Frogs and salamanders awake in these long-anticipated days of early spring.  Buds swell and the first wildflowers unfurl their petals to greet the warming sun. Rain and meltwater coaxes green from the moist earth.

Migrant birds reclaim territories in the still leafless woods. One is the winter wren, whose ethereal voice cascades from hidden perches among cedar and hemlock.

There is much to quicken the pulse at this time of year. So much to see, hear and appreciate. The earliest blossoms of our lovely woodland wildflowers, for example, including spring beauty and hepaticas daubed white, pink and purple.

The earliest blossoms of our lovely woodland wildflowers are hepaticas daubed white, pink and purple. Photo by Don Scallen.

The earliest blossoms of our lovely woodland wildflowers are hepaticas daubed white, pink and purple. Photo by Don Scallen.

A floriferous hepatica with deep purple or pink blooms can be breathtaking. Photo by Don Scallen.

A floriferous hepatica with deep purple or pink blooms can be breathtaking. Photo by Don Scallen.

The three-part leaves are often subtly variegated, which only adds to this plant’s overall appeal. Photo by Don Scallen.

The three-part leaves are often subtly variegated, which only adds to this plant’s overall appeal. Photo by Don Scallen.

The stems and new leaves of hepatica are swaddled in hair-like fibres that probably help it endure the cool temperatures of early spring. Photo by Don Scallen.

The stems and new leaves of hepatica are swaddled in hair-like fibres that probably help it endure the cool temperatures of early spring. Photo by Don Scallen.

Leatherwood is a glorious woodland shrub with the form of a muscular mature tree. Photo by Don Scallen.

Leatherwood is a glorious woodland shrub with the form of a muscular mature tree. Photo by Don Scallen.

Leatherwood up close. Photo by Don Scallen.

Leatherwood up close. Photo by Don Scallen.

Leatherwood, a glorious woodland shrub with the form of a muscular mature tree, is blooming. Its yellow flowers spangle escarpment woodlands. Tilt your nose to them to inhale a subtle but delightful scent.

Frog songs reverberate in the spring woods: the ubiquitous piping of spring peepers, the guttural quacking of wood frogs, and in some locales, the creaky voices of chorus frogs.

And of course, there are the salamanders that engage in age-old mating rituals in woodland pools. The most common of these, the spotted salamander, is a creature of sublime beauty.

These salamanders enjoy a brief aquatic sojourn before they leave the ponds and retreat with their beauty underground for the remainder of the year. But they leave behind their precious eggs, seeds of another generation.

Spotted salamander. Photo by Don Scallen.

Spotted salamander. Photo by Don Scallen.

Spring peeper peeping. Photo by Don Scallen.

Spring peeper peeping. Photo by Don Scallen.

The ponds where frogs and salamanders breed are biotic soups filled with fascinating invertebrates. Water beetles and daphnia, backswimmers and fairy shrimp are all part of a great matrix of life animated by this turn of the seasons.

As the Covid pandemic holds us in its stubborn grip, a walk in the woods at this time of year can buoy spirits. Life renewed in all its glorious diversity.

About the Author More by Don Scallen

Don Scallen enjoys sharing his love of nature through his writing and presentations. Check out his blog "Notes from the Wild".

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Comments

2 Comments

  1. A great article about the turning of the season, accompanied with fantastic images of Spring! It’s awesome seeing my grade 6 science teacher continuing to share his love for nature through his blogs. You’ve got yourself an inspired old student here Mr. Scallen 🙂

    Dhruv on Apr 20, 2021 at 1:38 am | Reply

    • Great to hear from you Dhruv! At the risk of inflating your ego, you were one of the most engaging science students I had the pleasure to teach 🙂 Thanks for your kind words and I hope you’re doing well!

      Don Scallen on Apr 20, 2021 at 11:13 pm | Reply

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