Spring is here, on paper anyway. The virus has put a damper on what is generally the most beautiful time of year.
I’m fortunate that I live next to a 9,000+ acre park called the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and get out on nice days to observe the advance of spring. Social distancing is a cinch alone on a boat in the middle of a big bay.
One of the earliest flowers to bloom is the periwinkle (Vinca minor), although it is not native – but hey, it’s NYC! It grows as a carpet on the ground and adds nice color to the refuge trail sides in mid-March. Red maple trees are flowering now and soon the shadbush will follow.
Things happen fast at this time of year: spring peepers are calling, Woodcock are flying, Redwing Blackbirds are on territory, and the Ospreys are returning to their nest sites.
The first osprey I sighted appeared on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day. Interestingly, it showed up at the same nest site on the exact same date last year!
American Oystercatchers, Piping Plovers, Laughing Gulls, Phoebes, are also in town. I expect Edgar the Egret to land on my dock any day now.
~ Words and pictures from Don Riepe, Director of the Northeast Chapter of the American Littoral Society