Thursday, 2 February 2012

Come on, spring

We may be currently experiencing one of the mildest winters in recent memory, but I've just about reached that point where I can't wait for spring to come! Perhaps it has to do with my recent trip to the north, or the fact that I wasn't able to make it south this winter, or because I've spent the last 4 days more or less couped up inside doing "important" things like studying. I heard on the radio the other day that January 30th is usually the coldest day of the year but fortunately, we are now past that. Not sure if there's any truth to that, but it seemed about right (and I'm too lazy to actually look it up). At any rate, the days have been growing longer. The shortest day of the year, usually in mid to late December, is apparently about 8 hours and 56 minutes long here in Guelph. Ouch! Currently the day length is just under 10 hours and its only going up from here! So while spring may seem a long ways off...there is hope. I'm itching for the day when I see my first grackle singing (or grackling, or making that sound of a rusty fence or whatever) from the top of a tree. Or perhaps seeing the first familiar Killdeer pecking at the edge of a muddy field.

Some of the first spring "migrants" have already shown up, perhaps a little too eagerly. Flocks of Northern Pintails and other ducks were reported about a week ago when we had a bout of warmish weather. It won't be long before the musical songs of Horned Larks can be heard in most agricultural areas. And my favorite sign of spring....the first Spring Peeper in a thawing out vernal pond. Usually I find my first amphibians of the spring sometime in mid-March.

Often the first "leps" seen - Mourning Cloak (from March 15)

Here are a few photos of some local herps and other organisms which signal the beginning of spring to me. Hang in there, its just around the corner...

Northern Ribbon Snake out for the first bask of the year (March 15)

one of the first plants of the year - Skunk Cabbage (March 16)

Four-toed Salamander (March 24)

polyploid Ambystoma about to take the first plunge of the year - March 31

Northern Ribbon Snake basking - April 1

Love is in the air - April 7

Spotted Salamander mating dance - April 4


  1. Are you and Barb going for the Band-tailed?

  2. I looked for the Golden along the Speed. Is that where you got it?

  3. Fred,
    Currently looking at the pigeon! The GOEA was flying low over the highway at Mavis road. It was an adult bird and also seen by David bell and Reuven Martin.