Under/Cover

The calendar tells me we are nearly a month past the official start of spring. Elsewhere crocuses and daffodils are blooming but here? Not even dandelions have popped up.

Although we lack arrays of bright spring flowers, the “hibernators” — plants that remained green through the bone-cold months of winter — are emerging from under the snow and lifting leaves to the sun.

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Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
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Feather moss and Orange Jelly (Dacrymyces chrysospermus). Yes, that yellow-orange fungus survived intact beneath the snow.
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Common Pink Wintergreen (Pyrola asarifolia) and Twinflower (Linnaea borealis)

Spring, in her fashion, has arrived.

Ruffed Grouse

New shoots coming through the snow brought this female ruffed grouse out of the woods and into the yard. She didn’t seem bothered at all as the camera and I stepped closer.

I’ve heard the male drumming in the woods over the past week or so which means mating season will soon be underway.

The male, when in full display, fans his large tail (somewhat like a small peacock) and puffs up the ruff around his neck — all designed to impress the local ladies.

I’ve seen many grouse over the years but this one surprised me. On the back of her neck I spotted several iridescent blue feathers. Gorgeous. Although I googled several sites I couldn’t find any reference to blue feathers. Curiouser and curiouser as Alice would say.

Blue feathers on neckCheck out the dots on her back — like little white hearts. Maybe love is in the air. 🙂

 


Ruffed grouse   Borasa umbellus

Here & Now

A couple of weeks ago it was spring on the desert. Now it’s come to The Great White North and that means snow. Lots of snow.

For more than a week the temperatures have dithered around freezing. Whether that’s 32F or 0C for you, it’s hat-scarf-mitts-coat-and-boots weather for awhile longer.

So far today more than 10 cm have drifted down — that’s 4 inches and then some. The forecast is for more of the same for several days but that will change. Meanwhile I shall enjoy the soft fall of flakes and the muffled world outside my door.


Mountain ash   Sorbus spp.
White spruce   Picea glauca
Balsam poplar   Populus balsamifera