Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tree Swallow in flight, and...

...other signs of spring:

Here in the Willamette Valley the arrival of spring is announced in nature by signs other than those usually mentioned in books and articles. Many writers, apparently reflecting an eastern bias, mention the return of Robins and the migration of Canada Geese. But those birds spend the winter here in large numbers, and the geese we see in March are likely to be flying in any direction other than north, just moving from pond to field or field to river.

We watch for Swallows to begin showing up in February, and for Ospreys to be refurbishing their nests before the end of March. At about the same time, we notice the willow buds bursting into "pussy willows" and on a sunny day, if you're near the river, one is likely to smell the honey aroma of the Black Cottonwood leaves uncurling from their sticky bud cases. Ah, spring. We're thankful that we're not still having to cope with the blizzards and tornadoes that are causing trouble in many areas east of Oregon.


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