Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Signs of Spring

SPRING IS fast approaching in the Saint Louis area. Although the Spring Equinox — March 20th this year — is used by meteorologists as the start date for the season of spring, I've noticed many signs of spring this past week. On Tuesday, while clearing out last year's vegetation at my parents' house, I noticed new growth coming out of the ground.

New plant growth, at Vance Trails Park, in Valley Park, Missouri, USA

Here is the first new vegetation I've seen in the wild, this past Sunday, at Vance Trails Park in the Saint Louis County town of Valley Park. Now, a casual glance at the forest revealed only bare brown trees and ground covered with leaf litter, but a closer look showed various new plants, easily overlooked.

Greenery can be seen here year-round, mainly cool season grasses and of course evergreen trees, and some wildflowers that can even bloom in January, but March is when large numbers of wildflowers burst from the ground.  By the middle to the end of the month, many imported ornamental bulbs will start to bloom.

The spring bird migratory season here starts in March, and I've seen many unusual species this week, especially brightly colored finches — birds which do not reside here either in the summer or winter but are just passing through.  The forests are now quite noisy with birds.  Local birders would benefit greatly with the purchase of the book Birds of the St. Louis Area - Where and When to Find Them produced by the Webster Groves Nature Study Society, which includes helpful information on migratory dates by species as well as good birdwatching areas.

The weather is now warmer and pleasant, however gardeners are warned not to plant too soon due to the risk of frost.  Records indicate that the average last date of frost here is April 7th, and the traditional date for spring planting here is April 15th. But smart gardeners have already have started seedlings indoors or under cold frames.
Benedicite, ignis et æstus, Domino : laudate et superexaltate eum in sæcula.
Benedicite, frigus et æstus, Domino : laudate et superexaltate eum in sæcula.
Benedicite, rores et pruina, Domino : laudate et superexaltate eum in sæcula.
Benedicite, gelu et frigus, Domino : laudate et superexaltate eum in sæcula.
Benedicite, glacies et nives, Domino : laudate et superexaltate eum in sæcula.

Dan. 3:66-70


  1. Here just 30 miles south of the Michigan Border, we have seen our first red winged blackbird (which is a better indicator of spring approaching than the first robin),and sandhill cranes. The tree tops abound with cardinals calling in the early morning sunshine.
    Unfortunately we will likely get one more big wet snow before we can offically call it spring in Northern Indiana. If you have an opportunity to list some of the migrants that you have seen it would be curious to see when the first show up here.

  2. We have red winged blackbirds and robins year-round here, but some of the migrants I've seen I don't know the names of -- it has been a while since I've studied my Petersons. One unusual species that I hardly ever seen before, but is at my feeder quite often the past few days has a great scarlet color in the male, and is greenish for the female.