Spring started early this year with temperatures in the mid to upper 20s starting 18 March giving an early thaw before heading back to “normal” on 24th but by then all vestiges of snow had disappeared and spring flowers started to bloom: snowdrops, crocus and a few daffodils. Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles had also arrived with the first warm weather along with a few Purple Finches but other arrivals were not spotted until we returned from England in time for my birthday in mid-April.
During our absence the weather was reported as cool and wet which preserved the spring flowers until we could enjoy them, returning to a garden full of the last remaining snowdrops and crocuses, along with daffodils, hyacinths, chionodoxia, puschkinia, sanguinaria, pulmonaria and flowers on the forsythia and daphne. A few days later temperatures hit 30 and the flowers on the Magnolia stellata opened. On 17 April I discovered (and killed) at least 15 lily beetles – adults which had been lurking in the leaf litter in the top of the pots of over-wintering lilies. The warm weather continued until 20 April when there was an abrupt return to seasonal, even some snow overnight.
The same week saw the return of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, White-throated Sparrows, Northern Flickers and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Even a Fox Sparrow was observed 21-22 April. Miserably cold wet weather kept us indoors these two days but that allowed us to see a Great Blue Heron arrive to perch on the wooden arch while it viewed the pond.
The cold wet weather has not deterred the rabbit which was contentedly munching dandelion leaves yesterday afternoon and evening. We presume it is last summer’s baby as it does not look full-grown and I saw a much larger one briefly at the beginning of the week. This youngster has been seen frequently since Easter but rabbit(s) obviously visited the garden throughout the winter to judge by the droppings among the wild raspberries and beside the pond.