The fourth week after the vernal equinox, we hiked in the rain, with my son playing ninja and scaring me by disappearing off the trail from time to time and proving that, while I aspire to “free-range parenting,” I am much too anxious to commit to it wholeheartedly.
It was so rainy and I spent so much energy trying to locate my stealthy six-year-old that I didn’t take many pictures, but I did get a few showing the lack of snow and the increase in green compared to last week.
No ice on the creek, and the water was running fast and high.
No ice on the river, and the Spring Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) were peeping their hearts out accompanied by a chorus of Red-winged Blackbirds, Northern Cardinals, Mallards, and Black-capped Chickadees.
We took a bonus hike on our sunny Sunday afternoon, and through my daughter’s detective work determined that the leafy green plant we’ve been seeing all over the place is Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus). What we’d recognized as skunk cabbage was just the flower. The big, green, cabbage-y leaves are what come after. My daughter figured this out when she spotted some plants in between stages.
This photo is from the weekend hike. You can see the purply flower at the base of the new leaves. Very exciting! It made us feel like true naturalists! (Discovering it on our own was a special thrill; we won’t dwell on the fact that we could have learned this just by looking at the skunk cabbage photos on Wikipedia. )