“All of nature is a going concern. The enterprise of spring is prospering. I stand for a very long time beside the swamp stream in a fairyland setting of low-lying mist glowing and tinted with the pink of the dawn. Right here is magnificence, right here is calm.”
— Edwin Method Teale, “Circle of The Seasons,” April 21, Reflections in a Stream
April is a month of expectations, the primary full month of spring when the earth offers delivery to a myriad of vegetation and creatures. Magnificence is ever within the eye of the beholder – one individual’s weed is one other’s flower.
At this writing the soil of my backyard and fields nonetheless has a cool contact, however quickly it will likely be heat sufficient to completely reveal its secrets and techniques. April brings the yellow-gold disks of dandelion blooms dotting lawns and fields. In April and early Could, dandelions are a number of the first blooms supplying necessary nectar and pollen for hungry bees and butterflies. Whereas seen as a weed or problematic by some who favor a sure form of garden, dandelions are literally a pure surprise, not just for the pollinators however for the well being of your garden. Allow them to thrive and you’ll profit your panorama in myriad methods.
Whereas the primary flowers of spring are dotting our landscapes, the early harvest of the backyard can be on its approach. The good vegetable gardener who planted their peas in March can proudly stand earlier than neat rows of sunshine inexperienced and exclaim to anybody who will hear “my peas are up” in April. The clover-shaped small petals twist upward on sturdy vines that want assist on picket stakes or wire-mesh. Many greens require the freshly-tilled darkish soil to heat additional, permitting the pea sprouts to face out — an exquisite sight and hopeful promise for the rising season forward.
Robins appear to occupy our a part of southern New England year-round, however on heat, moist April days I’ll watch for his or her tug of warfare with rising earthworms. The terrestrial tunneller is a favourite prey for the hungry fowl — particularly if there are nestlings to feed. The persistent robin with ear and eye cocked to the grass will wait intently, then make a couple of hops in a single course, cease to look and hear after which with fast strike of its invoice pull a recent meal from the soil.
April is the month of each departing birds and returning birds. As March slipped into April, I’ve seen fewer of the darkish eyed juncos. Southern New England is on the sting of their breeding grounds, that are usually in additional northern states and Canada. By April the swallows return to cruise above ponds and fields, shuttling backwards and forwards, twisting, turning rising and descending to feed on flying bugs.
On a heat night in late March, I visited Blue Flag Meadow in Hampton for my annual journey to witness the fascinating and a bit comical night courtship name and aerial flight show of the male woodcock. Silent and shy a lot of the 12 months, in early spring they return from winter grounds within the Gulf Coast states to mate and lift younger.
Earlier than alighting into the looming nightfall to carry out its dizzying flight, the male makes a peenting, nasal buzzlike name to announce his presence. It’s one among my favourite sounds of spring, and whereas one could be pressed to name it an exquisite sound, it’s nonetheless music to my ears. By early April, a lot of the woodcock have continued their journey north, however hopefully some will keep at Blue Flag Meadow for the nesting season.
By mid-April, all the times have music in them, and the time of the singing birds begins. In my neighborhood the robin sings first, typically properly earlier than dawn, adopted by the cardinal, tufted titmouse, chickadee, nuthatch and mourning dove. Already the mourning dove is nesting within the pine grove on the fringe of our yard.
Melodious notes should not the one stunning music we hear in April. The short sharp staccato drumming of resident woodpeckers on a hole department or trunk performs counterpoint to the music of songbirds. The loud fast succession of the tapping beats is the envy of any drummer.
Because the climate begins to heat in late March and April, painted turtles, groggy from the chilly, emerge to heat themselves on a rock or log. Additionally referred to as “solar” turtles, their look is yet one more signal of spring. If I get an opportunity, I like holding them in my hand for a better take a look at the options I discover so stunning.
The painted turtle’s red-orange markings alongside the rim of the highest shell (carapace), brilliant yellow striping on its legs and neck, and pale-yellow backside shell (plastron) are hanging. Simply behind its eyes are two yellow spots that disappear when the turtle retreats inside its protecting shell. With tail and legs tucked in tight, the one seen elements of the pinnacle are two nostrils on the tip of the nostril and glinting eyes. I by no means tire of trying into the intent stare of a reptile that lived among the many dinosaurs thousands and thousands of years in the past. I’m wondering if the turtles of the dinosaur age had colours as stunning because the painted turtle.
April is right here and there may be a lot to discover in The Final Inexperienced Valley Nationwide Heritage Hall. I hope you’ll be part of me to find magnificence in every day.
Invoice Reid is the Chief Ranger of The Final Inexperienced Valley Nationwide Heritage Hall. He has lived in and explored the area for over 40 years and could be reached at email@example.com