Happy first day of spring!

2009 February 3
by David J. Ringer

First Day of Spring

In the northern hemisphere, the first day of spring 2009 is either February 3 (cross-quarter day) or March 20 (vernal equinox), depending on your definition of seasons.

DUNCANVILLE, TEXAS — So, the title is a bit provocative, particularly for those of you who may still be buried under 18 inches of snow. But if you define seasons by cross-quarter days (which makes increasing sense to me), today was the first day of spring.

And at least in north-central Texas, it shows.

I heard a Bewick’s Wren singing tentatively while I jogged this morning. And after work, a White-winged Dove called in my parking lot, then a Mourning Dove. Cardinals have started singing brief phrases, sometimes from the underbrush; chickadees and titmice are rosining up their bows … so to speak. Great-tailed Grackles are strutting their stuff.

And it’s not just the birds that are feeling a change:

white-trout-lily-shoot

Saturday (January 31), I visited Cedar Ridge Preserve to see if I could find any hint of the trout lilies (Erythronium albidum), which are essentially our earliest-blooming wildflower. Yes! Tiny spears poking out of the ground! But that’s not all….

white-trout-lily-erythronium-albidum-1

Some flowers had already started erupting out from between the leaves, almost before they had cleared the ground, as if they just couldn’t wait a moment more.

white-trout-lily-erythronium-albidum

And one or two plants were in full, glorious bloom — on the final day of January. This has to be one of the world’s most photogenic plants.

possomhaw-ilex-decidua-2

A few possomhaw fruits (Ilex decidua) still look wintry as they cling to bare branches.

juniper-male-cones

It’s juniper pollen season, which is brutal for those of us with allergies. Though the worst seems to be over for me. Yay.

water-striders-gerridae

And water striders are gettin’ it on in the creeks — surely that means it’s spring?

Related posts:

  1. First day of spring 2011!
  2. First day of spring 2010!
  3. Coy mistress Spring
  4. Snow day!
  5. Spring comes softly
6 Responses
  1. Nancy permalink
    February 5, 2009

    David,
    I was pretty amazed to see your photos of Trout Lilies blooming on the last day of January! I checked the dates on my photos from last spring (our native Trout Lilies here are yellow and I call them Dog-tooth Violets, but they are Erythroniums) Here in North-east PA they were in full bloom on April 25th. And, we don’t have 18″ of snow, but we have “plenty”! So, I enjoyed your First Day of Spring photos, although I did have to fight off some feelings of jealously!
    Nancy

  2. February 5, 2009

    Very nice photos, David, and I do think here in Texas this year we’ve had a bit of a reprieve from winter (to me at least, it has felt milder–if not warmer–than usual). I’ve been amazed with how early life began to emerge (lizards and turtles showing up by mid-January!). Even the pelicans here at the lake are already donning their breeding best–including the horn on top of their bills. No matter the date, it certainly feels like spring already…

  3. February 5, 2009

    Your post makes me want to go outside right now and check for new signs of spring. Your trout lily pictures are awesome!

  4. February 8, 2009

    ¡Hola David!
    It is hot on this side of the world, although most blogs I vist have snow all over!
    That last picture is awesome!
    Saludos desde Perú,
    Mel

  5. February 8, 2009

    @Nancy — I’ve never seen the yellow Erythronium in person, but they look lovely. Here’s hoping that flowers start blooming for you soon! :)

    @jason — Yes, I saw a pelican with its horn over in Rockwall a couple of weeks ago. I’m ready for warblers now!

    @Diane C. — Thanks for visiting. Glad you enjoyed the pictures, and I hope you find some signs of spring.

    @Mel — Gracias para tu comentario. ¡No, no hay nieve para acá! :) Un abrazo.

  6. February 11, 2009

    Very cool series of trout lily images.

Comments are closed.