As the saying goes....April showers, bring May flowers....but first they bring April flowers, like the ones below.
The Daffodils, also appropriately known as Easter Lilies, are beginning to bloom and will be reaching peak blooming over the next couple of weeks.
Glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa luciliae) a cultivated bulb like the Snowdrops, are early bloomers that sometimes also have to deal with late snow falls.
Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) is another flower that was introduced from Europe and Eurasia and blooming now, well before the leaves emerge.
Above Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are one of our native wildflowers that has been widely cultivated because of its beauty. The leaves are now rapidly emerging from the ground and some blue flower buds can be seen peeking through the curled leaves left of center in the photo above.
Back in the woods along the Casa Burro Trail, Rue Anemone (Anemonelle thalictroides) is just beginning to bloom and the toothwort will not be far behind.
The leaves above are Ramps or Wild Leeks (Allium tricoccum). The flower will not appear until later when the leaves have withered away.
Above is a bud of the Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) also known as Shadbush or Juneberry. The flowers should appear any day now.
The yellow buds above are of Spicebush (Lindera benzoin). A walk in the woods revealed that this will be a good year for Spicebush flowers. And like the Serviceberry they should be in full bloom within days.
A subtle reddish hue can be seen on the forested hillsides as one drives to and from the preserve. The color comes from the flowers of the Red Maple trees that are a common component of the woodlands in this area.
And it is always exciting to see the fungus above known as Devil's Urn. Here it is in its early stage and has not fully opened yet. When it does split open it resembles a black urn or cauldron. (More on this one in a later post.)
And the Pileated Woodpeckers have been really taking it out on this poor Cherry tree on the Shelter Trail. No doubt the dying tree is harboring many tasty insects.
The insects are gearing up as well. The Bee fly (Family Bombyliidae) above was seen sunny on the oak leaves along the trail. This fly is an example of mimicry - trying to look like a bee to perhaps avoid being eaten.
The those April showers also bring salamanders! The warm temperature and rain finally teamed up to provide the prefect conditions for the Stopped Salamanders to complete their mass migration to suitable breeding ponds. This past Thursday night, hundreds of salamanders were everywhere. And the next night when the temperature dipped dramatically only 14 were seen.
The bluish gray egg masses of the Spotted Salamanders can be seen above. Note the dark embryos at the center of the mass. In the background are older greenish masses from salamanders and wood frogs.
So spring has finally sprung and will soon be busting out all over the woodlands and meadows.