Morning walk and signs of spring

Even though it looked like a storm was brewing in the distance, Bill and I took advantage of the warmer temps to go for a morning walk.

view of Short Hills

View of our neighbor’s barn further down the valley with the Short Hills in the distance

clouds over mountains

Clouds hanging over Garden Mountain

Walking along the edge of the woods, I was able to get this photo of a male cardinal that watched us curiously from a distance. The beauty of these exquisite birds is even more evident when seen in stark contrast against the bare limbs of the trees on a gray day like today.

Male northern cardinal

With the lengthening days, subtle changes are taking place everywhere. Wearying of winter, I was looking for signs that spring is on its way. The first thing I noticed was the swelling buds on the trees. As the days become warmer, the trees take up water in order to swell the buds and get the leaf-making process underway for the new growing season. The swelling is caused by the pressure of the sap pushing its way to the limb’s extremities.

buds on tree limbs

The buds on the tulip poplars are swelling, and I also noticed that the seed cones have opened and dropped most of their seeds. The viable ones will germinate once the ground warms up enough.

Tulip flowers

On the way back, I saw one of my favorite birds, a White-breasted Nuthatch. This dapper guy didn’t mind pausing his search for insects long enough to pose while I snapped a picture. Despite its wide distribution throughout North America, little is known about the specie’s breeding biology, in part, because they prefer to breed in natural holes in large, old trees, so their nests are often difficult to examine.

white-breasted nuthatch

I came back from the walk feeling encouraged about the signs of spring. All in all, it hasn’t been a bad winter; still, I long for the sounds of birds singing in the morning, the warmth of the sun, and all the wondrous activity of the season of renewal.

β€œWinter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart.”
Victor Hugo

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25 thoughts on “Morning walk and signs of spring

  1. Your signs of spring are welcome news here. Another winter storm coming on Thursday. Cardinals here love the new seed- my neighbor gave me sunflower seeds and they love them. No more cheap grocery store mix for me.

    • Yeah, sunflowers are universally loved at the feeder.It costs a little more, but I think there’s less waste. Have you put up any suet? You’ll attract the woodpeckers which are fun to watch.

  2. Hi, Jo Ann: No signs of Spring in New Hampshire yet…it has snowed all day and the winds have been strong leaving us with another 5 or 6 inches of newly fallen snow! I am not tired of it yet as I LOVE the snow! We have been visited daily by a pair of cardinals who almost seem to have a set time schedule to appear at our feeders…morning, noon, and late afternoon. They are fascinating to watch! Much love, Margie

    • Cardinals are almost the last to eat before they go up to roost for the night – maybe because there is less competition. I used to like winter, but as I get older, not so much. If you love snow, you’re in the right place!

  3. It’s so important at this time of year, when we feel weary of winter, to keep looking at the beauty that is here in the present. Thank you for sharing your walk.

    • I agree, Alex. Even when it’s cold, like on this walk, I try not to rush it and to observe the miracles going on around me.

    • I really enjoyed the pictures of Stockholm at night – looks like a beautiful and fascinating place! It was 50 degrees F. yesterday and snowing this morning!

  4. Hi Jo Ann. Great post, beautiful red cardinal and nuthatch. Lovely to know that spring is in the air. The sun has been shining on us here in England (after my post complaining about the ‘missing sun’!) and signs of spring are definitely everywhere. It is still very cold here though despite the sun, even waking up to frost this morning.

    • Pretty much the same story here, Sherri. It was 50 degrees F. yesterday and we got snow this morning, but some of the birds are singing which is uplifting.

  5. Every time I go for a walk this time of year, I’m looking for signs of spring. I like the change of seasons, but spring is my favorite change. πŸ™‚

    • I know New England winters are brutal, but as the saying goes, the longer the wait, the greater the prize, or something like that!

  6. Good luck with your seasons. We always look forward to Spring and Summer, but this year has been pot luck. Scorching record temperatures with devastating fires followed up by cyclones and floods. Every couple of days the weather changes from heatwaves to wintery chills. But don’t let me bring you down, I’m sure it will be lovely for you. Great pics.

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