Spring 2021 – In Living Color!

In the snowbelt region of Central New York the tug of war between winter and spring seems endless. We’re teased with mild weather, encouraged by the appearance of a pair of bluebirds in early April. They investigate nest boxes, sometimes commence with nest building, then disappear when the mild weather gives way to cold rain or snow.

Spring eventually wins the battle of the seasons and successive warm days trigger an explosion of activity. Warm, sunny days foster a sense of urgency and a pressing need to be exploring dozens of natural areas simultaneously. Spring ephemerals like hepatica and red trillium are always on the early spring itinerary.

There were lots of cardinals around in early spring and one in particular chose to defend the house and grounds against all rivals. We did everything imaginable to discourage him, but he tried for weeks to run his own window reflection out of town. Regardless of the vocalist, cardinal, towhee or other songbird, the music of spring is as uplifting as anything the season has to offer.

Backyard habitat management, including supplemental feeding stations, pays dividends during the spring bird migration and leads to many unforgettable observations and photos. Ruby-throated hummingbirds and Baltimore orioles put on quite a show this year. Prior to 2021, I had only seen orioles feeding on things like jelly, oranges and sugar water in magazines and social media posts. Now, I’m a believer!

I devote much of my spare time to the cultivation of wild apple trees on a 30-acre parcel, so apple blossom time is special. In addition to the beauty and promise of fruit, the blossoms attract an array of wildlife species. Songbirds, like this yellow warbler, forage on the blossoms as well as insects visitors.

Dame’s Rocket, an alien wildflower, carpets open places and disturbed sites in late spring and provides the annual introduction to the world of nectaring butterflies. The Tiger swallowtail is often the first to appear.

“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” – Aldo Leopold

Photos by NB Hunter; April, May and June, 2021. All rights reserved.

Contact: hunternick160@gmail.com

23 thoughts on “Spring 2021 – In Living Color!

  1. Hi Nick, Happy to receive your post. So good to experience wildlife through your photoblog. Looks like you are being richly rewarded for your hard work in managing those acres.

    • Good to hear from you. We’ve shared a lot of stories over the years. Your posts were always interesting and educational and you were a helpful compass as I navigated the world of blogging. I must now stay with it and play catch-up and begin reading and commenting on the posts of others….including posts on the natural history of the Great Blue Heron! Thanks!

      • Thanks Nick! I remember our first Heron interaction about a territorial fledgling if I’m not mistaken. And I remember your Deer and a gorgeous team of horses in the snow. Lots of walks down memory lane. 😊

  2. How wonderful to see your gorgeous photos and read you enlightening comments again. I have Cardinals here all winter, which was extremely cold for Missouri. The orioles came for jelly and stayed only two weeks this year before migrating. I add a hot pepper preparation to the black oil sunflower seed in my hanging feeders as squirrels hate it, but the birds are not bothered by it. Expensive perhaps, but I save money on buying fewer 40 lb. bags of the seed.

  3. Nick, these are all beautiful in their own way, but that red trillium took my breath away! So thrilling to visit your springtime awakening.

    A lovely quote indeed!

    • Hello old friend. You haven’t lost your touch. Something about red trillium in side or back light that I find irresistible. I visit the same sites and colonies every year, but the scenes are never the same…and they must be recorded! Thanks.

      • You’ve been missed! Perhaps you remember my struggles to get some milkweed growing? Finally, this year, I seem to have succeeded in getting two plants growing. One (I think) is the ‘showy’ and the other is ‘narrow-leafed’. Hoping they make it to producing seed. Fingers crossed and breath held.

        I feel like we may be some of the very few who enjoyed sticking to home for the most part this past year and a half. We discovered beaver, otter and a whole bunch of birds down by the creek at the edge of our little slice of ground. It’s been a joy watching the wildlife.

        So very, very good to hear from you again.

  4. Remarkable photos, Nick!! that red trillium was outstanding… but it would be hard for me to pick a favorite here. Thank you for sharing the beauty and excitement in your neck of the woods!

    • Hi! Thanks for the great feedback. I got a call yesterday about a doe and fawns in a pasture and recently saw a buck on the property with noticeable antler growth, so I’ll be adding those subjects to my summer photo routine. I also plan to shift into reverse and read some of the posts of followers that I’ve neglected, so you’ll probably be hearing from me sooner than later. πŸ™‚

    • And great to hear from you as well. I decided to get off the porch and try and run with the big dogs again. Hope you’re making the most of the seasons! The month of June is never long enough for me.

  5. It is great to see you posting again and I really enjoyed your photos proving that spring eventually won the tug-of-war with winter! Such an uplifting post in these sad and stressful times. Thank you.

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