Almanac for April 2013
Natural events, happenings, and fearless predictions based upon 25 years of observations at Hidden Pond. Your observations may vary! Hidden Pond is not responsible for errors, erratic behavior or other whims of nature.
If things warm up, red maple flowers will now turn into wine colored winged seeds. Pastel green tulip poplar leaves emerge. Pickerel frogs, spring peepers, cricket frogs, chorus frogs all call now for mates. American toads usually spawn now. American beech trees drop last year's brown leaves and began to sprout new greenery; folklore tells us that this means no more frost. We shall see. Tent caterpillars hatch synchronized with the emerging tender leaves of their main host plant, the wild cherry tree.
Shad bushes in bloom remind us that the shad 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.
Dogwood blossoms at peak. Morel hunters head for their secret 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.
The full "Pink Moon" rises April 25th. 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, have lost this quality. Hummingbirds and chimney swifts arrive. In the evening we hear the wood thrush fill the forest with the sound of summer.
Hidden Pond Nature Center, Fairfax County Park Authority
8511 Greeley Boulevard, Springfield, VA 22152. Phone 703/451-9588