Nonesuch Mountain Images
LOONS -- Within hours of the first open water of ice-out, a male loon will stake his claim, joined shortly thereafter by a female, usually within a day or two. Whether they are the same loons every year, no one knows. They all look pretty much the same.
Eagles, snapping turtles, otters and intruders of their own kind pose dangers through both spring and summer so loon chicks must grow quickly and get real smart real fast if they are going to have a chance at migrating in the fall. If they get that chance, they'll probably have to find their own way because one morning the adults will just fly off, leaving them behind to fend for themselves. Somehow, it seems to work out.
MAYFLIES (adults) -- Knowing which mayflies are "hatching" is a useful piece of knowledge to possess, considering that I am generally surrounded by anglers. Knowing the scientific names of those mayflies is another thing altogether.
From #18 Blue Winged Olives to #6 Hexagenias, I don't see them on the water as much as I'd like. Rather, I usually find them on screens and windows, in boats, and even in spider webs.
Ugly and beautiful at the same time, the amount of detail in something designed to last less than a day is fascinating, especially close-up.
Dragons and Damsels -- I don't usually sit still, waiting for dragonflies and damselflies, and they don't sit still very long, either. Every once in a while a well-preserved dead one will appear, allowing detailed study, but mostly I stumble across them as they go about their business. More to come...
Wild Flowers -- Coltsfoot appears along the margins, as the snow melts in spring, and is often mistaken for dandelions. Before the trees leaf-out, the springtime ephemerals do their thing on the forest floor until the canopy blocks the sun. Trilliums and Lady Slippers are especially showy toward the end of May. The Gentians of summer give way to Asters and Goldenrod, which hang on as long as they can, but a killing frost in October usually puts an end to such showy displays.
Maple Syrup-- Three sure signs of spring in Vermont: frost heaves on the paved roads, mud everywhere else, and plumes of steam rising from sugar houses as maple sap is boiled-down into syrup. Trees are tapped as early as February in order to catch the first run, whenever it might happen and, if all goes well, there might be something to talk about at Town Meeting besides Mud Season and the price of a new road grader. It takes 40-60 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup, which can make for long days and late nights, but for some it's an important source of income and the season can be short. You never know which will be the last run of sap for the season until it happens and when it does, that's it.