Sunday, March 25, 2012

Searching for spring

Three weeks ago we had full winter with 40-50 cm of snow and rather cold temperatures. Since then the winter has almost disappeared and something resembling spring has arrived instead. But is it really spring? There are lots of people out jogging and riding their road bikes, smaller kids are out riding with their parents, there has been some warm days, the air quality is poor in the city due to dust from sanding the roads during the winter and I switched the studded tires to ordinary tires on my Fargo. All this points to the winter being over. On the other hand, the lakes and sea are still covered with ice and the night temperature have mostly been below freezing. A bike ride to check out spring signs in the nature was therefore in place.

The spring has certainly not arrived to the pine and spruce forest next to my home yet. There is snow and the trails are still covered with ice, though it is soft enough not to make studded tires necessary.

Lots of meltwater, though, so something is going on.

The Goat Willow catkins are not a reliable sign, since they can be visible long before spring.

Going to another kind of forest with mostly leaved trees could perhaps show something, but the first impression is that everything is cold and bare.

The liverwort (Hepatic nobilis) is one of the earliest flowers, but it will need maybe a week more.

Wait a minute! Could that be a liverwort bud?

The Blue Tits and Great Tits are here all winter, so they don't signal spring.

Riding home again I feel that the the spring is arriving, but is not yet here, but suddenly a bunch of small yellow suns stare at me. Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)!

Maybe it is spring after all.

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