On the first day of spring when all of nature is awakening from a long winter's sleep and we have been shut inside, isolated in our homes and not being able to socialize with family and friends, we offered an escape to get outdoors and meet others interested in learning about nature.
We experienced the early signs of spring with the male catkins on birch, aspen and speckled alder. We saw the winter buds of red maple, which are early flowering ready to open in the next few weeks. We discussed the many conifers trees in the area like spruce, pine and larch and talked about the presence of balsam fir in ecological woodlands.
We saw the evidence of the many species of mammals we have at the centre like coyotes, fox and porcupines. We saw the heavy browse of moose, what species of trees they prefer and their tracks and scats showing us they were in the area earlier in the day. Black bears are just awakening from their winter slumber and we reported hearing bears in the area communicating with their growls and snorts and feeding now in early spring on aspen catkins before the spring sedges and insects are present.
We gathered in a talking circle, with physical distancing in place, one moose length apart, around the fire complete with a cooking pit and shared food and drinks. We discussed our observations for the day within sight of very active bird feeders. We observed and listened to the spring songs of black-capped chickadees, blue jays, mourning doves, white-breasted nuthatches, hairy woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers and the first red-winged blackbirds and common grackles just back from the south and preparing soon for another nesting season. We want to thank all those participants that helped make our first event at the new
Robert L. Bowles Nature Centre a success. Bob Bowles