[APR2021] The first prognostication of an early spring this year was from Wiarton Willie on Groundhog Day. Well, let me clarify that. This year, in a bizarre twist, nobody saw Willie… not just because the annual festival was virtual like everything else, but because instead of a groundhog we saw the mayor of South Bruce Peninsula seemingly channelling Willie’s weather intuition accompanied by a peculiar press release postulating on the famous rodent’s whereabouts. It reminded me of the infamous year Willie died soon before the big day and they tried to substitute a stuffed lookalike, much to the media’s enjoyment.
Anyhow, onto more reliable indicators, since late February I had been hearing bird songs that seemed early for the calendar. Early March brought the first Robins, followed a couple weeks later by Red-Winged Blackbirds. I have a longtime friend in the ‘burbs who reported similar birds indications of spring’s early arrival.
At the end of March we were treated to some awesome warm days… warm enough to warrant a beer (though, being half Scandinavian, it doesn’t take much for me) and on they went into early April. It was then that I came across this little porcupine amongst the cedars. With a body barely the size of a softball (including quills) it surely wasn’t last year’s baby, but the nature guidebook said they usually don’t birth their young until May or June in Ontario.
I sat out at dusk on a few evenings in early April with a glass of wine watching bats flying around. The animals know. Alas, it turns out the warm days were a bit of a teaser and by late April we were back into single digit temps in the day and below zero at night. A month ago, I figured I would end the heating season on the up side for firewood but I’m slowly but surely burning through the final woodshed section now. Spring is early this year. It’s just not particularly warm.
Addendum: a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird showed himself May 3rd! A good two weeks or more ahead of when I usually see the first arrive. The really amazing this is this: I was sitting on the front porch, out of nowhere zooms in a Hummingbird, right to the very spot the feeder usually hangs. This tiny bird had travelled thousands of miles south, over-wintered, and must have come all the way back to the exact place it departed from. I got a move on boiling up some sugar water, it must have been starved for energy but not yet a lot of flowers in bloom for nectar.