Saturday, March 17, 2012

Vaguely discontented

Not to look a gift horse in the mouth or anything, but this winterless winter and too-early spring are making me nervous, at the least vaguely discontented.

Not so much at the marsh, where northbound pelicans (above) have checked into the Pin Oak Motel two weeks early.

There's plenty of company (and sky) here --- red-wings, meadowlarks and various warblers already singing as if there's no tomorrow, geese honking among the big-billed frigates and a misplaced gull shrieking. Only the swallows are absent, for now. We are, at least, circling the drain of global warming together.

The other sound here, always present except in very early morning, is the wheels-on-pavement roar and rumble of inadequately muffled engines on Highway 14, which parallels the marsh --- "every prospect pleases and only man is vile" (the only truth in Bishop Reginald Heber's patronizingly excretable 19th century missionary hymn --- you remember it, "From Greenland's icy mountains ....").

Back in town, the daffodils are in full bloom --- too early, too early --- and overly optimistic ornamentals are bursting into leaf and bud.

And here I sit before dawn the next day in a stuffy room after a string of 80-degree March days thinking  of turning air conditioning on (opened windows instead).

Woodland plants are wiser, and occupants of woods and water at Red Haw are slower to react to this unnatural springing forward.

Sitting down on a rare trailside bench bench to enjoy the view across the southwest inlet, not a sound other than wind freight-training through bare branches.

Nothing blooming in the brush other than carelessly discarded plastic and light-weight metal. What were these people thinking?

Farther along, after flushing two Canadas who swam honking out into the lake and startling a couple of jaybirds, this little guy settled down ahead of me on the trail. Did he (or she)  winter over, or emerge early?

What's needed are a string of night-time lows in the 30s and a good spring snowstorm (no ice, please) to get this season back on track.


John Pearson said...

The butterfly is an Eastern Comma, which overwinter as adults and are among the first species to appear in spring. You are correct that they (and several blooming plants) are emerging early this year, Here's another observation by Iowa butterfly expert Harlan Ratcliff:

Frank D. Myers said...

Thanks for the identification! I am butterfly illiterate.