[ 8511 Greeley Blvd. ] [ Springfield, VA 22152 ] [ 703-451-9588 ]
Almanac for April 2017
Natural events, happenings, and fearless predictions based on 30 years of observations at Hidden Pond. Your observations may vary! Hidden Pond is not responsible for errors, erratic behavior or other whims of nature.
- 1st Week: The redbud tree Cercis canadensis is now in bloom; the magenta pea-like flowers of this small tree add spectacular color to the banks of the Pohick Creek. Red maple flowers will now turn into wine colored winged seeds. Pastel green tulip poplar and sycamore leaves emerge. Pickerel frogs, spring peepers, cricket frogs, chorus frogs all call now for mates. American toads usually spawn now.
- 2nd week: Full moon rises April 11. The shad bush Amelancier canadensis in bloom reminds us that the shad fish migration is on. (That’s why the shad bush, a small tree, was given that name!) The forest floor is now carpeted with spring beauties, trout lilies, cut-leafed toothwort, and Virginia bluebells. Canada geese usually begin to incubate their eggs now. White-throated sparrows depart for Canada (they seem to sing “sweet, sweet, Canada Canada Canada”).
- 3rd week: Dogwood blossoms at peak, sadly most dogwoods have disappeared due to disease. It seems they are being replaced by various wild cultivars of the Bradford pear which are inferior, weak, and invasive. Morel hunters head for their secret woodland places to search for these tasty mushrooms. Tiger swallowtail butterflies emerge from pupa, mate and lay their eggs on wild cherry trees. New shrubbery leaves provide cover so that cardinals, robins, and mockingbirds can begin nest building.
- 4th week: Pink lady’s slippers bloom, usually dusted with oak pollen. Warbler migration at peak. Gold finch males now molt into dazzling yellow plumage. Wild azalea blossoms have a sweet fragrance; domestic azaleas, though showier, not so much. Hummingbirds and chimney swifts arrive. In the evening we hear the wood thrush fill the forest with the sound of summer.