Searching for Spring in 2018

Despite the cold, late spring, I started searching for wild flowers in late April.  The search is a rite of spring, even if there’s snow in the air and it makes no sense whatsoever.

The flower buds of willow shrubs were on hold (April 27),

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As were the new shoots of False Hellebore after a freezing rain (April 29).

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Desperate for color in a wintry April landscape, I detoured to the edge of a wetland and discovered a reliable indicator of the advancing season: Skunk Cabbage (April 29).

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Finally, the weather took a serious turn for the better. The season of renewal erupted, with April events spilling over into early May. Migrating birds, black flies, wildflowers, baby animals, mud…..Spring!

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Bloodroot

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A Rails-to-Trails recreation path, with willow shrubs in bloom (May 5)

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The early blooms of willow shrubs (May 3), a lifeline for hungry bees

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Marsh Marigold (May 5)

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A tumbling brook, swollen by melting snow and frequent rain (May 5)

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White Trillium (May 5)

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Red Trillium (May 5)

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Melting Ice and Snow

Early Spring means melting snow and exposed fields, melting ice and open water. Wild animals, many struggling to survive, seize the opportunity to feed and recover. Others continue their journey northward as habitats and food sources become available. Photographers are also recovering and more mobile. After months of donning multiple layers, feeding the wood stove and hunkering down in storms, seeing winter in the rear-view mirror is a joyous occasion!

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Melt water enhancing a small stream and waterfalls in the hills

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Gull foraging in puddled melt water in a harvested corn field

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A pair of Wood Ducks at rest in a temporary pond (same as above)

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Canada Goose  heading for its nesting territory in a cattail marsh

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Canada geese at rest

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Great Blue Heron silhouette, one of two flying northward

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Open water in lakes and ponds means Osprey can go fishing!

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Large numbers of hungry deer are foraging in cultivated fields; these were alarmed by a barking dog but won’t go far.

Photos by NB Hunter (March – April, 2018). © All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

Lasting Images of March 2018

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Wood Ducks 6March2018

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Wild Turkey gobbler searching for waste grain 7March2018

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Mature Bald Eagle feeding on a road-killed deer 8March2018

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Desperate wild turkeys searching for seeds in old burdock 8March2018

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Young deer, now relying on fat reserves for survival 11March2018

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Foraging muskrat, seemingly oblivious to the snow and cold 17March2018

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Evidence of the spring thaw at Chittenango Falls State Park 31March2018

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A Rough-legged Hawk hunting over melting snow in the fields

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

A Walk in the Park: Oxbow Falls

It’s early Spring and everything is alive and fresh in the morning sun. Let’s take a hike. The destination is a small, local park and the goals are bubbling brooks, tumbling waters, a small wildflower called Hepatica (that I often miss because it blooms so early)…. and anything else of interest!

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Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba; the common white variety)

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Hepatica

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Hepatica (H. acutiloba; the uncommon blue variety)

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Trillium, Red (also Wake-robin, Birthroot or Purple; Trillium erectum)

Trail’s end. That’s all … for now!

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

 

 

October Trout Water

Central New York is blessed with an abundance of wetlands and surface waters – and accessible public lands where these liquid treasures can be fully appreciated throughout the year.

One such place is Chittenango Falls State Park, a quiet, rural park with a cold, freestone stream and waterfalls within its boundaries.

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

A Stream in Autumn

Regardless of the season, I’m drawn to surface waters. The smaller, readily accessible waters like vernal pools, ponds, swampy places and streams are favorites.

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Sugar Maple leaves on the surface of a small spring hole.

One of the more popular and scenic streams in Central New York is Chittenango Creek. Classified as a medium-size, fast-flowing trout stream, it originates in a large cedar swamp, tumbles over a 167-foot waterfall and ends up in a large lake. I’ve taken numerous photos of this waterway, some as recently as today, and will share the results.

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Chittenango Creek

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ChittenangoCreek

 

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Chittenango Creek

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Chittenango Creek waterfalls in Chittenango Falls State Park

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Chittenango Creek waterfalls in Chittenango Falls State park

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A small tributary to Chittenango Creek in Chittenango Falls State park

Photos by NB Hunter. ©  All Rights Reserved.