[Tweeters] Spring Has Sprung in Port Townsend

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign15 at gmail.com
Mon Mar 25 16:39:45 PDT 2019

After a somewhat strange Winter, we're off to a sort of strange Spring
around here, at least so far. After a stormy November and December with
lots of hypothermia weather, January was pretty mild - with early blooming
Hazels and other plants ahead of schedule.

It was so mild that I kept checking Kah Tai prairie here in town for early
developments and on January 31 found a single blooming Spring Gold (*Lomatium
utriculatum), *the flower right down on the ground, and just emerging *Olsynium
*leaves coming up all over. My mom's Red-flowering Currant was showing some
color that day, and getting bill-butted by impatient Anna's Hummingbirds as
if that would speed their flower development. Later, out at Fort Flagler I
found my season's first blooming Salmonberries - an especially striking
color in the somewhat dim forest.

Well just a few days later put the kibosh on all that as the February snow
event, variously labeled "Snowmageddon" or "Snowpocalypse" on Seattle tee
vee, arrived. How about "PLEISTOCENE RETURNS" for a headline. Of course, that's
going a bit overboard, but the above-mentioned plants did get a setback of
several weeks or a month. This could have been a good time to remind me
that all this flower stuff really happened in Winter, not Spring, that the
Gods of Astronomy still rule. I tend to redefine the edges of the seasons
as by what is happening on the ground, not out in outer space.

This was then all followed by what could be described as Mother Natures Hot
Flash when record Winter warm temperatures occurred. Yup, back to Holocene
Post Glacial warming with a vengeance: I could hardly keep up with all the
changes, like treefrog choruses, reblooming flowers, returning birds and
emerging insects.

Prior to leaving town for a few days,I heard the first big Pacific Chorus
Frog chorus from my mom's house 6 blocks away on Mar. 14 - a calm night
with a bright moon. That day I returned to Kah Tai Prairie to find the
Lomatiums blooming again - more than just the one. Back to PT, and checking
again on the 20th found many *Olsynium *(Satin Flower) blooming, soon to be
more, and larger. Back at the ranch the first Rufous Hummers around, also
at Cape George along with many Violet-green Swallows, and some butterflies
- one bright Mourning Cloak.

Down at Point Wilson on Friday I explored one of my favorite spots - the
sandy dunes there where I found tiny flowers like the annual Blue-eyed Mary
(*Collinsia), *also miniature annuals *Claytonia rubra, *and Draba. On the
sands were also tiny bugs including one very small wasp and a shiny beetle
which were dwarfed by a lone thatcher ant.

In nearby Red Alder groves by the RV camping area, heard singing Purple
Finches and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, which was nice. I really like Alder
groves this time of year, the trees without leaves, just a scrim of brown
catkins, that lets the sun in to shine on the understory plants, like the
green Indian Plum leafing out bright emerald. Early blooming Indian Plums
all had freezer burnt flowers, but some were newly blooming, Also in bloom
were Coltsfoot, Spring beauty, and lots of Salmonberry. A Red Elderberry
was one of the largest I can remember seeing - with a 1 ft diameter trunk
which, if vertical would've been about 24 feet tall, a real Elderberry
Tree, but it was growing sideways reaching out to the sun. Another
butterfly - a bright Tortoiseshell of some sort- flew by.

Jeff Gibson
reporting from
Port Townsend Wa

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