Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Good Day on Earth

I like to think that every day is Earth Day. Today though seemed like an especially good day on earth, at least for me. I planted sugar snap peas about where a painted turtle laid her eggs in our garden several years ago. I'm happy to share the space, so she is welcome back this year. I also planted cilantro and spinach and arugula. It felt good to drop the small seeds into the soil, cover them gently, then water. The next best thing is to watch them sprout; the arugula will emerge first, in just a few days.

I spent much of the day in the field--that is, out and about in the woods checking the growth of garlic mustard, an invasive plant. I'll be back there on Saturday with a volunteer crew and The Nature Conservancy to pull this invasive plant. We'll take time to listen to the returning songbirds and enjoy being outside working together on a good cause--to restore a natural area.

Garlic mustard at Lubberland Creek Preserve, Newmarket, NH
I just hope the black flies aren't too pesky--they emerged today on this Earth Day. We saw several garter snakes today too, taking advantage of the warm sun, maybe they caught some of the flies...

A garter snake, disturbed from its mid-day bask, tries to hide among the brush
As I write this post from my back deck, I watch a female pileated woodpecker make repeated powerful strikes at a dead paper birch. I assume she got her fill of carpenter ants or wood boring beetles before flying off to find her mate. Peepers just started up their communal peeping from the wetland behind.

A few warblers returned during the last few weeks. First, the pine warbler, which is aptly named as it lives mostly in the tops of pine trees and is best identified by its somewhat musical trill. On one warmish day last week I spotted a small flock of palm warblers, with their rust cap, yellow breast, and wagging tail. Unlike the pine warblers that nest here, palm warblers head farther north to spruce bogs for the summer breeding season. Hermit thrushes with their rust-colored tails just arrived too. And of course wood frogs are quacking from their vernal pools. Things are happening in the neighborhood.

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