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March 31, 2021
Signs of Spring

It seems as though Spring is even later than last year in arriving. But with the start of our 'Signs of Spring' school program, Joanna and I are daily appraising what signs are there.

There is a definite delay in both flower and foliage maturation. We still haven't seen any Salmonberry flowers although these usually appear with the Hummingbirds around St. Patrick's Day. The Elderberry has tight shoots, but they are small and not yet too leafy, although I'm prepared to believe that they are not so much delayed by the cold temperatures as by a need to protect themselves from being squidged by hundreds of little hands, anxious to smell the 'peanut butter plant'. 

The white flowering currant outside our office window is in flower, as is the heather, so the early bees have something to visit.  And we have seen both bumble and honeybees already, looking for pollen and nectar.

The blueberry bushes are in bud and when we look hard enough, we can find the first few pink flowers of Bog Laurel.

The most lively sign of spring, and ubiquitous, is undoubtedly the bird activity. Their hormones are triggered by the lengthening of days - and there we have it, the days are getting longer irrespective of  temperature. The Hummingbirds, whilst late, are here. The Chickadees are caling for mates, the Song Sparrows, Juncos, Towhees and Robins are all noisily advertising their wares. Even the hawks have a nest again in the forest and are doing some Neighbourhood Watching. The average body temperature of birds is 40º, slightly higher than that of mammals, so whilst this requires a fair amount of eating to maintain, it means they can carry on in colder weather. 

By contrast, the herptiles are not yet stirring. We have seen a couple of turtles, and two dead bullfrog bodies floated to the surface of the pond one morning, but it will take a few more degrees of warmth before they venture out. 

A set of mammals that signal spring to us, are the photographers, and at the weekend, they numbered eight. The main focus of their attention is the bird-feeding station, and these women and men have the patience of Job.

The weather itself is, in reality springlike, let's not forget that 'March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers', but I think we'd perhaps have liked to have seen a few more daffs around the place this month!

March 24, 2021
Homecoming Queens and Kings!

They're finally here! We usually expect the hummingbirds to arrive by St. Patrick's Day (17th March) and last year, the first one was spotted on 11th March. This year, the first sighting was over the weekend, on Sunday the 22nd, but then Spring is a little bit behind this year. There are not yet any Salmonberry flowers evident in the Park and the Elderberry, whose young leaves smell like peanut butter, are still quite tightly budded.

But with the welcome return of our hummingbirds, who come here to nest and fledge their young, can Spring be far behind?

March 16, 2021
Reptile Show
The ever popular Reptile Show took place in the Nature House at the weekend. Here's Rich with a Burmese Python round his neck - either that or he has a very serious growth, poor chap. This girl was 8 foot long - but it seems they can reach twenty foot in length!

March 4, 2021

Not a great picture, I know. But it was an incredible sight, yesterday afternoon, to look up and see this magnificent Bald Eagle perched up high, back to us, but evidently watching something. Every so often he or she parted those great, black wings and we were able to see the white body beneath.

This morning, imagine my surprise to see our visitor once again gracing us with its presence. Then Kris pointed out that there were actually TWO eagles up in the trees.

We suppose that they are sitting there, watching the ditch for possible food opportunities, but Kris wondered whether perhaps we might have a pair - possibly a mating pair for the future. Time will tell, but whether or not this turns out to be the case, we are always excited to have such majestic visitors!

Hi You had a busy summer, I see! Very interesting to read about the parklife. You did hard work...! Through the volonteering in the Richmond Nature Park my eyes are opened wide in my country too.... Please say hallo to all we know. Yours Lea
Lea Hafner
September 26,2020

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