AGIANT FLOCK OF REDPOLLS–BIRDS I NEVER SEE HERE–landed on the newly revealed patio outside my window, looking for nibbles in the cracks and crevices just hours after a little snow finally melted. Only hours after the white stuff gave way on the stones by the frogpond, out climbed three friends, looking no worse for the winter wear. By the gate, the pussy willow catkins are all a silvery fuzz, positively delightful, and I swear the winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) perforated the leaf litter and jumped up an inch to open its sunny flowers within moments of being exposed to the light–determined to win the race for first bloom of the new year. There is hope, and here is the proof:
The pond de-icers (red disc, below) have been going since November, to keep a hole in the surface ice so my guys don’t suffocate, but this fat frog is acting like it’s sunbathing time at the beach.
The giant pussy willow, Salix chaenomeloides, is in full glory (below). Remember this great, easy shrub?
I suspect we’re far from done with winter, but even these first small hints–and the sight of land (even though a lot of it is full of tunnels and burrows and other damage) is a relief. More to come soon, but for now, it’s something!