Signs of Spring

Signs of spring so far around where I live, apart from the obvious sunshine and disappearance of the snow & ice:

  • Crocus

  • Snowdrop
  • Scilla
  • Blackbird singing at sundown (ah!)
  • Magpies brawling

Comments

  1. #1 Hans Persson
    March 31, 2009

    I can add magpies and crows flying around with sticks in their beaks to the list.

  2. #2 The Ridger
    March 31, 2009

    We’ve got redwinged blackbirds here, but they more croak than sing. Still, it’s spring.

  3. #3 Sigmund
    April 2, 2009

    A couple of days ago a big flock of seagulls descended on Kristineberg park close to my apartment. From memory this is a definite sign of spring as it happens round about the same time every year as the snow and ice thaws. They seem to go for some source of food that’s suddenly become available in the newly thawed ground.

  4. #4 Martin R
    April 2, 2009

    A couple of magpies are building a nest in a leafless tree just outside our garden fence!

  5. #5 eleanora.
    April 2, 2009

    It’s autumn. Daylight savings finally finish this weekend and for a short time I can revert to getting up in daylight. It’s not getting light until about 7:30 now, and I need to be up by 7:00 most mornings.

    There are oak trees in the street outside our place, and in the street where I park at Uni. They are hailing acorns at the moment. There has been enough rain for the lawn to have greened up after the dried out brown of summer. Very few deciduous trees are changing colour yet, but the herbs and annual flowers are going to seed, and I have ripe tomatoes, zucchini and corn to pick.

    There has been a kookaburra who has sat on the neighbours TV antenna to laugh each morning over summer. I haven’t heard it lately. I don’t know if he’s coming later when I’ve already left for uni, or if he’s given up.

    The days are still warm, although not the 35-45C they were for much of January and February, but the nights are quite cool, with condensation forming on the cars most nights. There is enough moisture in the air that I am no longer having to syphon or cart buckets of bath/shower water out to the garden every day or two. (Where I live has been on stage 4 water restrictions for the last three years, which prohibit using fresh tap water outside. The washing machine hose also runs out to the garden.) The cooler weather means the risk of bushfires is decreasing, although the risk remains until we get some really good soaking rain.

    Unlike the forests of Europe, our native forests become greener during winter and into spring. They will start to look more lush in the next few weeks, at the same time the exotics that the European settlers brought with them and planted in the towns will be turning yellow, orange, red and brown, creating a kaleidescope of colour through the towns and forests of the Victorian ranges.

  6. #6 Martin R
    April 2, 2009

    Beautifully written, thank you!

    Maybe the kookaburra, though a little slow on the uptake, has finally realised that the antenna is not an old gum tree.

  7. #7 eleanora.
    April 2, 2009

    Kookaburras aren’t fussy about what they perch on. I often see them sitting on power poles and wires or big old wooden fence posts along the side of the roads.

  8. #8 Martin R
    April 2, 2009

    Kookaburra sits
    On whatever happens to be around
    Merry Merry King
    Of the bush is he
    Laugh, Kookaburra
    Laugh, Kookaburra
    Gay your life must be

  9. #9 Mattias
    April 2, 2009

    You may add that pikes spawn in Lännerstasundet – I saw it when walking along the shore near Östervik the other day. It’s time to prepare for the wonderful pike fishing you get once they are done spawning.

    / Mattias

  10. #10 Martin R
    April 2, 2009

    How do I recognise their spawning? What fishing method are you planning on using?

  11. #11 eleanora.
    April 2, 2009

    The version popular with school kids starts

    Kookaburra sits on the ‘lectric wire
    Jumping up and down with his pants on fire…

    There are so many variations of the end that I can’t clearly remember any of them.

  12. #12 Martin R
    April 3, 2009

    I guess the take-home message is that whatever you do, your life must be gay.

  13. #13 Mattias
    April 3, 2009

    You notice pikes spawning in shallow bays like the one down the hill from Östervik, where they are easily spotted in large numbers resting just outside the reeds (if they can, they go into even more shallow water, such as flooded grass turfs). Once they are done with their romantic activities, they are starved and exhausted and snap after almost anything which moves in front of their noses. I fish them with rod (fishing with hand-held equipment beeing free along all Swedish coasts and in the four biggest lakes) – we have to take a fishing trip if you ever have a day off.

    / Mattias

  14. #14 Mof
    April 3, 2009

    Seagulls is a spring sign in Gothenburg too. In winter I think they migrate to the North Sea and English Channel. You know it is spring when you hear the sound of them :-D Most people are not aware of it though, until you ask them about where all the seagulls are in winter. It might be somewhat interesting, perhaps, for an English-speaking person to know that on the islands around here and in Bohuslän those birds are called, gale.

  15. #15 Martin R
    April 4, 2009

    Yeah, the gulls are a sure sign of advanced spring! An old friend of mine once wrote a sonnet beginning

    En dag är hela Fiskis fullt av måsar
    Av fåglar med chokladdragerat nylle

    One day Fisksätra is full of seagulls
    Full of birds with chocolate-covered faces

    This refers to a small black-headed gull, Larus ridibundus. I don’t know this species designation’s relationship to Chroicocephalus ridibundus.