Seasonal Firsts

I love every season and thrive on the changes each one brings.  Well, at least until one or another hangs around too long or exhibits fierce and extreme weather…then I am usually longing for the next season to arrive and give me respite or at least change.  But Spring holds such a dear place in my heart as its activities celebrate beginnings, growth and promise.  Green Heron Pond attracts so much Nature has to offer or possibly- as I have grown older I take time to notice and observe more.  I can only say how grateful I am for the opportunity to witness these events and creatures who share this wonderful place.  So today is a sharing of Spring “firsts” here at the pond.

The end of April ushered in some of the coldest wintry weather we have ever seen.  The nesting geese hovered over their 7 eggs that hatched during a downpour and mid 30s temps.  Four goslings survived and wriggled out from under Momma at the first hint of sunlight that cold day.  They were beautiful; yellow fuzz tinged with a pale brown aura, little black bills and alert dark eyes.  They returned to the pond this morning as if to say “Look how big we’ve grown”!

Just as the storm and cold retreated last week a Warbling Vireo showed up singing its operatic song and I knew Mr Baltimore Oriole would be only a day or so behind in his arrival. Indeed he showed up in search of grape jelly which I quickly supplied.  The willows and cottonwoods along the shoreline had begun their leafing out process-  seed casings dangling earring like over the water, the Yellow Rumped and Yellow Warblers appeared quickly thereafter to dine on the fare.

After these tiny seasonal residents arrived we waited earnestly for the eponymous Greenback Herons only to see 4 Black Crowned Night Herons arrive instead, surveying the pond as if they might want to nest here. Our pond is rather small and they did not stay long. Upon their departure the Greenbacks have arrived scouting prime nesting spots and courting.  Just a couple of evenings later Dan and I took a walk and chanced to view a Yellow Crested Night Heron on a neighboring pond…I hope it will stop by our pond soon!

This past Saturday saw the return of more Spring like temps-sunny, 80 plus degrees.  Imagine my surprise when a Black Rat Snake appeared like a black garden hose hanging (about eye level) from on of our pine trees.  First of all I would have thought the bark or needles might be a bit prickly and secondly, I wondered why it would be there and so close to my deck.  It did not want to leave, so it slithered to the top of the pine and transitioned over to a Bradford Pear and that is where I left it…

A Wood Duck couple stopped by for their bi annual visit yesterday along with Momma Mallard and her 6 ducklings.   Two additional Geese couples, goslings in tow stopped by today to take in sun and warmth by the pond.  They, along with the goslings hatched here last week, have been on the West ponds for several days but Coyote howls in the dark last night may be driving them a little closer to civilization…or as close as we get here on the city’s edge.

And lastly, first Farmers Market of the season!  Featuring fresh picked kale, varieties of leaf lettuce, Cole crops and tender carrots. Ingredients fit for a tasty dish to enjoy while viewing Green Heron Pond!

carrots n brussles
Sauteed Carrots and Brussels Sprouts with Thyme

Sauteed Carrots and Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients: 1 tsp olive oil and 1 tsp butter, 1/2 pound of Brussels Sprouts and 4-5 tender carrots- both sprouts and carrots sliced.  Thyme and pecans or walnuts. Directions: Melt butter and olive oil in a pan adding carrots first and then after a minute add the sliced sprouts and nuts.  Saute til sprouts begin to have caramelized color and then add 1/2 tsp of maple syrup- continuing to stir for another minute.  Sprinkle in fresh thyme, salt and pepper to taste and enjoy! (for the meat eaters, a bit of bacon crisped first might be tasty too!)