March 2020 Review
Well now, this month has been a doozy...
I hope everyone is healthy and staying away from others...
The first half of the month life was pretty normal (we've always been fans of hand washing). The second half, however, has been both very intense and very low key.
I will admit I am loving this time to bake, read, work on the garden, get back to nature and this blog, but I am worried about all the grandparents and immunocompromised folks out there. Please stay healthy my friends.
March in the natural world has done what it does best, lead us from winter to spring.
You'll see a few new features on each posting, weather, temperature, and GDD (Growing Degree Days) more info on that HERE.
The month started chilly with snow and ice. March 3rd brings back that wonderful earthy smell one experiences as the Earth warms and the leaves soften and decay. Very tiny signs of growth have emerged. Migratory Ducks and the 'return' of Turkey Vultures are the stars of early March.
By mid March we're starting to see some blooms - in waste areas and along fields the chickweed, whitlow grass, hairy bittercress, even some speedwell. Out in the woods the Coltsfoot starts blooming. Things get warmer. Spring peepers and chorus frogs singing for all to hear.
Late March brings the heavy blooming of trees, maple buds bursting into pompoms, even a few magnolias have opened. The early Ephemerals (spring wildflowers) are in bud - Hepatica & Spring beauties have started blooming. Peepers have faded, the leopard frogs taking over the vernal pool soundtrack.
I hope everyone has been getting outside (safely 6ft or more away from other people). Please remember to be mindful, healthful, and safe.
March 1st - Kenwood
9am - Sunny 20*
GDD:23 Set Feb 4th
3 bluebirds, startled a pileated - 2 singing back and forth, retail hawk, plantain leaved sedge greening, snow on shady side of hills, cocoon still in tact, crunchy snow on bridges.
Wren at feeder, drizzle all day, warm earth smells.
March 3rd - Wooster Memorial Park
Very early signs of spring, tree buds filling out, highly saturated ground.
Sunny but very windy. 52*
Turkey Vulture, 2 Red tail hawks, Beech Trees appearing stark white in the sun, Pileated calling, Earthy smell (SMELL!), slime mold fungi, green nubbins (may apple? trillium?), Christmas fern rhizome & new growth, purple cress leaves emerging, Miterwort base leaves green, ramps small but rising, waterleaf tiny green leaves, scarlet cup fungi is abundant, budding spring beauties, false mermaid is up, lots of trees in bud.
March 8th - Brown's Lake Bog & Funk
Redwing blk bird, Pileated, flicker, bald eagle, dogwood in bud, bluejay, redtail hawk, tutv, fly, grackles, bog smell, crows shouting, baby pitcher plants, from jump high bush blueberry new growth, sensitive fern new growth.
Pintail ducks, 3 eagles, 2 sandhill cranes, skunk cabbage spadix revealed
Silver Maple at work is blooming. Crocus & Snow Drops around town blooming.
March 10th - Wooster Memorial Park
Cloudy & rainy 54*
Rosette under dried foxglove is turning green, spring beauty buds, purple cress greens, sweet cicely greens, false mermaid greens, interesting orange lichen (?), scarlet cup fungus, two-leaf toothwort greens, violet greens, pileated call, tree buds getting larger.
Fallen seeds are bare (when they fall they're fuzzy),
Trunk bark: gray, scale, porous, brown under layers (also porous)
Trunk to limb transition: bark thins to reveal white patches
Far limbs: mostly white (lacking lower bark) with few dark patches
Growing on/nearby: Poison ivy climbing tree, honeysuckle shrub at base, garlic mustard
Other: fallen leaves are larger than my foot!
Partly Sunny 57*
Chickweed in Bloom, FOY Grasshopper, Lagre cloud of mosquitoes
Stinkbugs & Ladybugs emerging in the house
March 17th - Neighborhood
Silver Maple blooming, lots of hair bittercress in bloom, forsythia nearing bloom, purple crocus blooming, snowdrops blooming, Henbit blooming, Magnolia bud, Scilla starting to bloom, Goldfinch at feeder (still dull colors).
March 21st - Johnson Woods
COLTS FOOT BLOOM! (almost open, when the sunshines), grape fern, cutler toothwort bud, spring beauty bud, jewelweed sprouts, maple blooms, TRILLIUM UP!, BARRED OWLS CALLING!
March 22nd - Neighborhood
Lesser Celandine Bloom, Dandelion bloom, goldfinches at feeder, juncos still around, squill (Scilla) flowers blooming.
March 24th - Wooster Memorial Park
bluebirds, turkey vultures, fox squirrels, spring beauty bud, squirrel corn "corns", Trillium UP!, Dutchman's Breeches BUD!, two leaf toothwort, false mermaid greens, grape fern, violet greens, owl pellet, wild chive, bedstraw, scarlet cup, waterleaf greens, woodland cares bud, ramps opening, cress?, garlic mustard, Christmas fern rhizome and new growth, purple cress greens, miterwort stubs forming, HEPATICA BLOOM!!!, Pileated call.
March 25th - Farm, Cemetery Rd, Brown's Lake Bog, Wilderness Rd.
Farm - Observations:
comma or question mark butterfly, housefly, honey bee, flicker, horses have torn up the woods. What is the bulb grass? Spring beauty in bloom, crocus bloom, daffodil bud, multiflora in leaf, blooming bittercress, blooming whitlow grass, blooming chickweed, blooming speedwell, maples in bloom, oaks in bud, dogwood in bud, Phoebe Foy, titmouse, tutu, fat groundhog, bluejay, blue bird, cardinal, redwing blk bird, sparrows, wolf spiders, robins, mourning dove.
Sunshine, light breeze, blue skies, fluffy clouds, fresh country air.
The titmouse's loud flutter, matching the loud songs it sings... loudest tiny bird.
Cemetery Rd - Observations:
Redwing Blackbird, Ring-neck Ducks (diving like orcas), Coots!, Bufflehead, Red Head Duck
Bog - Observations:
Peepers singing, lady beetle, ants on bog, tiny pitcher plants, no fern nubbins yet, comma or question mark butterfly. Just outside bog a harrier was hovering nearby.
Wilderness Rd - Observations:
Shoveler, redhead duck, ringneck duck.
March 27th - Walton Woods & Barnes Preserve
Showers and Sun 53*
Walton Woods Observations:
Burning Bush pink buds, Privet getting leaves, Multi-flora rose getting leaves, Cutleaf Toothwort in bud, Dutchman's Breeches greens up, Dames Rocket rosettes green, Troutlily "fins" are up, spring beauty greens - one growing through an acorn, Red velvet mite.
Barnes Preserve Observations:
Frog Songs!!! Peepers, chorus, and more!, Flicker, Pileated, & Redheaded Woodpeckers, spring beauty buds, yellow rocket rosettes, coltsfoot bloom!, Coopers hawk nesting, big hickory buds, jewelweed appearing.
March 28th - Neighborhood
Thunderstorms in morning, cloudy & rainy 62*
Heavy evening fog, lesser Celandine blooming, hair bittercress still blooming but also sending out seeds, magnolia buds cracked open, vinca blooming, forsythia really starting to bloom, scilla blooms
March 29th - Killbuck Marsh Areas
Incredibly Windy, Sunshine with Big Fluffy Clouds, up to 70*
Cemetery Rd Observations:
Two giant snapping turtles in ditch, sandhill cranes, buffleheads, ringneck ducks, tuvu, redwing black birds, jumping fish, purple archangel blooming
Force Rd Observations:
Leopard Frogs Roaring, sandhill cranes, grebes, beaver lodge, swans, great blue heron, duckweed
Blue-winged teal, shovelers, coot, 2 juvenile bald eagles, skunk cabbage starting to leaf, jumping fish
Goldfinch is beginning to molt - bright yellow splotches here and there
While treating myself to some social distancing on the farm, in the sun, I came across a little white flower. Well, more than one little white flower, great clusters of little white flowers filling the median between the planted field and the fencerow. I let myself sit with them, feeling their leaves, tracing their petals with my eyes. The longer I sat the more variety I found. This wasn't one great cluster of the same plant, it was four different species all opening their little white flowers to the warm sun!
Early Whitlow Grass
(Erophila verna - formerly Draba verna) we learned all about in the post here.
(Veronica something - due to the small size and leaf shape maybe Veronica polita)
Generally speedwell flowers are blue/violet with white centers so this one's a bit of a mystery to me. The vining qualities and four overlapping petals are what lead me to believe it's a Veronica.
Another great vining plant with tiny white flowers. Five white bifid petals giving the appearance of 10 tiny petals.
All the flowers are non-native and a few get rather weedy and aggressive, but it sure in nice seeing things in bloom!
Look at the very first image again... can you tell what 3 are in the photo?
"In March winter is holding back and spring is pulling forward. Something holds and something pulls inside of us too."
- Jean Hersey
Scarlet Cup Fungus
(Sarcoscypha dudleyi(?) or maybe S. austriaca(?) not S. coccinea as it doesn't grow in the Eastern US - Microscope is needed to differentiate between the three)
Better known as: Scarlet Elf Cup, Scarlet Elf Cap, Scarlet Cup Fungus.
Found in damp forests in early spring this is an abundant fungus that can easily be spotted due to the bright red coloring that stands out against the leaf litter.
March marks a big turning point focusing on the transition from winter to spring. If you look and listen closely you can already hear & see it happening: birds are singing their spring songs, salamanders are beginning to make the journey to their vernal pools, the very earliest ephemerals are surfacing, and the tree buds are swelling, soon to bloom.
March urges us to move forward. We, ourselves, are also waking from the winter period of rest and this season reminds us to get ready - March forth (4th)! - Spring forward (DST on the 8th)!
Grow, bloom, take winter's dreams and bring them to fruition.
The first official day of Spring is March 19th.
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.