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It's About Time - March 2016

Rough Skinned Newt, Taricha granulosa
Rough Skinned Newt, Taricha granulosa

As the vernal equinox passes this month, the spring waves of wildflower blooms increase in breadth and vigor. Like the waves crashing on the beach, they are in constant motion yet precisely defined at any instant. Unlike the waves of the ocean, waves of blooming are so slow the human eye cannot detect any motion. Every flower has a slow but steady dance that one must visualize mentally to appreciate its blossoming. This is what makes time-lapse movies of flowers opening so appealing; they give the impression of inexorable actions being speeded up, constantly moving.

The act of blooming is a flowering plant showing its breeding behavior. It doesn’t matter if they are insect pollinated or wind pollinated, the goals are the same: Fertilize the egg and nurture the young of the next generation. The rivers that run to the ocean have their own cycles. The winter steelhead run is almost over. The spring run of Chinook salmon begins next month.

It is much more dramatic watching herons return to their nests. By the end of the month, they will be sitting on eggs or feeding their young. Other songbirds are already nesting while some are still in the process of establishing a territory and singing for a mate. Frogs, newts and salamander are laying eggs in ponds. Tadpoles and larvae should be observed in ponds and still backwaters by the end of the month. It is important for them to begin early, to avoid being stranded in drying puddles.