The Lusty Month of May?

As I write this May is only a week away, yet it feels like March. I know it’s ridiculous, but what with the weather and this pandemic, the world feels upside down. But we all know the weather is unpredictable and we can as easily go from winter to summer tomorrow. The cool weather does have some benefits though. It hasn’t felt quite so bad sticking close to home. And the dandelions that I grub out of my garden but enjoy in my salad are not turning bitter the way they do when the hot weather arrives.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
Daphne mezereum.

One piece of good news is the green areas that were declared closed are now at least “walk through”. I had been told about an interesting plant in the Station Trail and I wanted to go investigate. I was feeling guilty (typically Canadian, eh?) as I headed there only to see the new signs allowing walking through. I’m glad I came to check the trail out. I found two things in bloom. The first was totally unexpected although it was the plant I had been sent to try to identify. Imagine my surprise to find in bloom a European flowering shrub. Daphne mezereum is a small shrub that blooms very early and smells heavenly.

Last month I was telling you to expect the yellow of Marsh Marigolds but bemoaning the fact that a large area of them had been destroyed where a new sidewalk is being built on County Road #10 going up the hill towards the new Towerhill development. But in the wet areas along the Station Trail, I was pleased to see many of these pretty plants just coming into bloom. I recommend you go have a look. And the last time I reported on this trail I was complaining about lack of directional signage. Don’t worry. Our wonderful committee that oversees the trails has been busy and signage is now in place.

If you do venture out to the Station Trail (keeping proper distance away from any other walker, of course) you may chance to spot some birds coming through on the spring migration. Just the other day I noted our first warbler of the year. It was the pretty Yellow-rumped Warbler, which is usually the first to come north. But checking in my records it had arrived a full week earlier than last year. No wonder I spotted it during a snow squall!

In Medd’s Mountain Park there are several Mountain Ash trees. All winter they have been laden with berries; and I was surprised that no bird had come to feast. After a long winter the beautiful orange berries are now an unattractive dark colour. But that has not deterred the flock of Cedar Waxwings that have just arrived from gobbling them up! I’ve written about these attractive birds before. Their song isn’t very beautiful but their crest and subtle yet svelte plumage is lovely.

If you find yourself in Medd’s Mountain Park (just walking through, of course) cast your eye towards the island. The Canada Geese should soon have goslings on the pond yet they all seem to have deserted their nests. I have never seen this before no matter what the weather. I speculate that this unseasonal, long cold spell has driven them off their nests. It will be very interesting to see if they make a second attempt.

We can’t know what the weather next week will bring–it’s certainly not Camelot!  And it’s anybody’s guess when the pandemic regulations will be relaxed. I hope this column gives you some ideas on what to do or see during these dark times. Even if you are housebound there should be something to see or hear just outside your window. We all hope that next month will bring better news. Until then, get out! And enjoy!

GET OUT! by Glen Spurrell

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