Muriels' Second Spring Walk

Muriel’s First  Signs of Spring  –  2nd Evening Walk-  April 11, 2017

There is probably nothing that signals the true arrival of Spring more than the very loud chorus of Spring Peepers ( a very tiny tree frog
with a very loud voice, and an X on its back).As we walked toward the ponds west of line 14 ( Oro-Medonte)
the noise became deafening. It was very hard to hear anything other than equally loud Canada Geese.
We did however see and hear Flicker, Red-winged Blackbirds, Grackles, Starlings, Robins.
Some ducks flew over but for some reason most ducks seem to avoid these ponds.
The beaver has been working on the dam and chopping a number of trees near one end of the pond raising the water level considerably.

The edge of the trail had pussy willows and small willows with Pine Cone Galls.
These galls confuse people because they resemble pine cones. In the summer a small fly called a gall gnat
midge deposits an egg on the stem. The new larva secretes a substance on the stem which causes the willow to go into overdrive
building a multi-layered chamber composed of a hardened material that would have become leaves if the stem growth hadn’t been arrested.
The larva winters in this chamber . You may open this cone and find a small pink larva( if a parasite hasn’t been there first)
The Canada Geese have chosen their nesting places and are already “ sitting”.

The previous night there was a beautiful pink moon shining across the water but this night the weather changed and the wind
rose to blow in yet another period of rain and cold.
April is doing its usual “ unpredictable thing” . We, like the birds and animals, must adapt.

The goose on the nest hopes we cannot see her Pussy willows
       Photos byHeather Ewing, Howard Black and Donald Macdonald

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