Apr 06 2015
Spring is off to a slow start this year. Last month I predicted coltsfoot would bloom in March but it didn’t appear in Schenley Park until April 4. Since the city is always warmer than the countryside I’m sure many of you are still waiting for coltsfoot.
Despite my poor March prediction I’m going to make one for April. Maybe spring will “catch up” this month. If so, you can expect to find…
- The earliest warblers arrive in early to mid April before the leaves open. Look for yellow-throated warblers and Louisiana waterthrushes along the streams and creeks. Yellow-throats walk the high trunks and larger branches of sycamores. Louisiana waterthrushes walk the stream edges bobbing their tails. Both sing loudly to be heard over the sound of rushing water.
- The purple martin scouts are back. Very soon, perhaps today, the swallows will return — tree, northern rough-winged, and barn. By end of April we’ll have gray catbirds, blue-gray gnatcatchers, ruby-crowned kinglets, and hints of the big migration in May.
- April is woodland wildflower time. Walk in the woods to see bloodroot, spicebush, spring beauties, hepatica, harbinger-of-spring, spring cress, twinleaf, violets and more. The bees and flies are out visiting the flowers.
- Pollen counts will rise by the end of the month when the tree flowers bloom. Those that rely on wind pollination (oaks and pines, for instance) will make allergic folks miserable but all of us will enjoy the downy serviceberries and flowering cherries.
Here’s a taste of Spring to come.
It’s a good month to be outdoors.
(photo credits: Yellow-throated warbler by Steve Gosser. Bloodroot and spicebush by Kate St. John)
p.s. Yellow-throated warblers are southern birds that are expanding their range northward. They’re in southwestern PA but not northern … yet.