Monday, April 27, 2009

Shadbush

Bella and I took the long road back to Winterberry Farm, through southwest New Hampshire and down into the Pioneer Valley. Most of the trees along the way were still grayish, not yet in full spring color. Scattered amongst the grays, to brighten the way, was a snowy white understory tree - the shadbush (Amelanchier arborea).

The shadbush is so named because it flowers when shad are swimming upstream to spawn. Another name for the same small tree, is juneberry. Its small, round red or purple berries ripen in June. It is odd that one plant has so many common names, but this tree is also well-known as serviceberry.

In five days, since I was last here, the changes in leaf-out are noticeable. Most striking are the sugar maples, just last week still in bud, now sporting new leaves.

A green-backed heron was perched in the trees at the pond edge; maybe it will nest there, as it did a few years ago. Bella startled a frog. The bluebird was singing nearby; I am sure it is nesting in one of the cavity trees.

I am looking forward to the early morning walk to see what else has emerged in less than a week.

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