by Teri Franzen
"The Earth is coming to life again." - John Burroughs
In late March, winter finally begins to release its grip on upstate New York as signs of springtime appear all around us. Even a moderately cold season, as we are experiencing in 2018, is not enough to restrain the more tenacious of sojourners. Here are five signs to look for throughout the next few weeks as we settle into springtime.
The hardiest of spring flowers, Crocuses in multiple shades of purple, yellow and white, provide a ray of hope after a long, harsh winter. Arriving in seemingly impossible conditions they provide that first splash of springtime color as their buds peek through snow and dried foliage left over from the previous autumn.
Photographer Diana Meyn captured this image in her yard in Apalachin, NY.
"It's almost as if they thrive on nasty weather." - Diana Meyn
2. Painted Turtles
Abundant and widespread in North America, Painted turtles dig themselves into the mud at the bottom of a body of water where they hibernate throughout the winter. During March, as the ice begins to thaw they resurface and can often be found sunning themselves on logs with their heads held high.
" I always love it when the ice melts on the ponds in the Spring and all the Turtles come out to warm up in the sun." - Kelly Frederick Sweet
3. Snow Goose Migration
Massive flocks of Snow Geese can be found wintering in the northern US states. Their loud honks can be heard long before they are seen as they take to the sky in large groups while working their way north to their nesting grounds high in the arctic.
Photographer Jessica Pack created this image from her home in Apalachin, NY.
"I was lucky enough to see not 1, not 2, but FIVE flocks of snow geese migrating over my home in South Apalachin! What a beautiful scene."
- Jessica Pack
4. Turkey Vulture
During the springtime, look to the sky to see small flocks of about a dozen or so Turkey Vultures circling the sky. These carrion-eaters often migrate short distances during the winter and return to upstate, NY in the springtime for breeding. Very often seen soaring high to catch thermals, they are easily distinguishable in flight with their slow, rocking movements and v-shaped wing position.
Photographer Diana LaBelle captured this image in Vestal, NY.
"For me, spring is here when the turkey vultures finally arrive back in our area." - Diana LaBelle
5. Baltimore Oriole
During late April/early May the Baltimore Orioles begin returning to upstate NY to start their families. If you place an orange on your nectar feeder, or set out a small bowl of jelly, they may drop in for a snack as they work their way back to their open woodland breeding grounds. Sugary foods that are easily converted to fats provide quick energy during their long journey.
Photograph by Sarah Darling-Jones
"...I have a Baltimore Oriole couple who visits me for oranges and grape jelly to refuel after their migration journey. They only stick around for a few weeks until it's time to fly off and start their family. " - Sarah Darling-Jones