Tuesday, February 7, 2012

So It's Time

Conk-la-ree! Conk-la-ree! Dtdtdteeeeeeee!  Loud and many.  From the neighbor's tall holly just over the fence. Sounded like red-winged black birds to me—couldn't be—not this early. But yes, on closer inspection, the holly was nearly saturated with blackbirds. So they're already beginning their pass-through on their way to parts further north, soon to be here in huge flocks that cover the ground. Our warm winter has fooled them.

I returned home on Jan 31st, after a month away, to daffodils already in bloom. Earliest I've ever seen them is Valentine's Day, often not till early March.  

daffodils in early Feb, 2012

The winter hellebores have only just bloomed!  Daffodils? Impossible. 

winter helleborus, Feb 8, 2012

helleborus, Feb 8, 2012

I shouldn't have been surprised, because the day I left home, on Jan 2nd, the flowering quince blossoms were just beginning to open—so early I feared they would live to regret it. But they flourished, and I nearly missed them. 

flowering quince, just past peak bloom, Feb 8, 2012

 The camellias that usually show in late Feb &  March are falling all over themselves trying to outbloom each other. 

pink perfection, Feb 8, 2012

pink perfection, Feb 8, 2012

magniflora, Feb 8, 2012

magniflora, Feb 8, 2012

big red, Feb 8, 2012
The cherry buds are swollen and purple, at least four weeks early. I'll be perturbed with Jack Frost if he spoils the backyard cherry blossom show this year.

And just now, as I take my hour of long-sitting in the backyard for the first time since I've been home, who's that I see in hot pursuit of whom? None other than Sir & Madame Bluebird! While I can't be sure it's the same pair I watched through the 2011 nesting season, there can be no mistaking what this pair has in mind today.  Such a teasing and fluttering and darting and chasing and fluffing—in and out of the branches behind the copper roofed bird house. My oh my.

General Beauregard Lee, Georgia's legendary ground hog at Yellow River Game Ranch, who has a 94% accuracy rate, predicted an early spring when he made no shadow on Feb 2, but I don't think even he meant this early.

Wonder what all this says about the kind of summer we're in for, and if the early warming is the certain result of our longterm careless environmental behaviors. dkm


bibi said...

My poor hydrangeas are confused and starting to leaf. I hope this doesn't mean another spring of sparse flowers.

dkm said...

Me too---but I can't imagine we won't have more cold weather. I forgot to check on the hydrangeas . . . Whoa! Just did. They look like they have already had their new leaf buds nipped. Like they might have pushed out in December, and got frozen on that only cold week in early January? All their leaf buds are black. Will we have no hydrangeas?!

Jane Robertson said...

If this is the result of global warming caused by our profligate lifestyle then I am sad and angry. I hate the thought that we might be responsible for disrupting the seasons, causing strife for flora and fauna - and ourselves. Grrrrr....

Rant over - do red-winged blackbirds really have red on their wings?? We only have black blackbirds...

Patricia Lichen said...

Oh, Jane, yes red with a little edge of yellow as well! And they can hide their epaulets or show them off as they see fit. (By the way, rant on, I'm with you all the way!)

dkm--yes, what strange weather! We've had warmer days that usual, sunshine and everything here in the Pacific Northwest. I'm trying not to mow my lawn --it's FEBRUARY, for crying out loud!

Jane Robertson said...

Thanks Patricia :-)

dkm said...

Finally got photos posted. Not great photos--iphone variety--but photos they are. Love it when commenters comment on the comments! :-)
I'm told northerners take blackbirds for granted b/c they are so plentiful, but in Georgia we see them only twice a year, in huge flocks in the yard, on their way north or south. Their red and yellow flashes in flight or on the ground are a breathtaking treat, not to mention their huge numbers.

Pukeko G said...

Here are we about to dive into Autumn and you are absolutely blooming :) We have had a green spring and summer and if you believe that 'nature provides' then we MIGHT be in for a real winder !! Never know do we ??

Niki said...

It's freezing today, I have lit the fires in the lounge and bedroom...shhhh don't tell PG :). Feb is spose to be our hottest month.

No comments on clock hands :) The student board doesn't seem to be a chatty place. Quite sad really, I thought it would be more like blogging or facebook. Though one photography graduate commented last month, saying that it was inspiring and interesting to see the photos of non-photography students. I had posted the white-faced heron and his fluffy armpit (the challenge was 'freedom'). So that was nice to read.

I wish you all the best with your revised query letter. Hope you knock their socks off!! It's good to get criticism but there's no need to be mean.

Camelias are perfect arent they. Just beautiful.

Oh and I think I interrupted two hedgehogs about to you-know-what! I was hoping to snap a photo of the action but one scuttled off in fright! lol :)

dkm said...

Our opposite seasons seem so mysterious. Your kiwi February, then, is like our cracker Aug, and next to impossible for us to imagine---myopic as I know that sounds. If we ever do get to come to NZ, what month is the most beautiful there?

Niki, your stretching heron photo in the top of that tree was astounding---and the fact that it rcd comment in a photography venue that doesn't usually comment is proof of it!

I predict you'll get your hedgehog photo one day---I'll wait for it.

Ellen said...

Redwings here as well. Jostling each other on the suet seed cake, pecking around in the field and yard. And a bluebird pair and oh joy, the yellow rumped warblers we see briefly every year.

About your hellebores, these Lenten roses are surely Epiphanal roses this year, early January was when I started to see one or two bloom.

Today's cold is refreshing, but woe to the early blooming magnolia stellata and other beauties.

dkm said...

Hi Ellen! Yes to last night's refreshing cold---but wonder what the freeze did to all the early buds---guess we'll find out---

I too had a yellow-rumped warbler at the feeder this morning---and three blue birds at once--- also, a huge yellow-shafted flicker on the maple trunk---a first for me---do you have flickers in your neck of the woods?I'm told they're common, but I had never seen one.

Niki said...

I think autumn is the prettiest...Mar, Apr, May. The days can still be hot but the nights are cooler.

Even I'm getting confused with the seasons. When you mentioned daffodils, I half expected to see them popping up here. Forgot that it will be autumn soon...yay! :)