Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Glimpses of Spring

I know a lot of people have had their flowers blooming for a bit now and have been flooding the blogosphere with celebrations of Spring. But here on the New England coast Spring comes a bit more slowly and a little later. The ocean holds the heat of the Summer and keeps us a bit warmer in the Winter than those farther inland (and so often when it snows in Providence and Boston, we get rain here in Newport), but by this time of year the ocean has cooled down considerably (water temperature today is 39º F/4º C) and successfully holds off the onset of Spring. Of course, this is why we're a Summer resort - that slow-to-warm-up ocean keeps us cooler in the Summer and brings us all those poor, urban escapees from the city heat.

But we are finally getting some signs of Spring, and I found some on the way to the grocery store this afternoon.

One of the definitive signs of Spring coming around here is the return of certain migratory birds, and the House Finch is one of them. I saw my first House Finch of the year today on Rhode Island Ave.

Of course, we have Cardinals all year long, but now the males are singing their vast song repertoire instead of the short, shrill chip, chip they scold us with in the Winter months. This one sang to me for quite a bit, and stayed right there in his tree, determined not to be chased from his territory.

The early Narcissi are starting to come up, most notably the Crocuses, but here I found the Crocuses scattered among some early Snow Drops.

But the surest sign of all that Spring is just around the corner, for me, is the blooming of the Witch Hazels in a garden along Old Beach Rd. Technically, Witch Hazel is supposed to bloom in October, but these always bloom in late February and early March every year. Most of the trees bloom yellow, as in the shot below, but they have one tree that blooms red, seen to the right here.

Ayuh! Spring is right around the corner. I'll miss Winter, and all my exotic Winter waterfowl who will be leaving soon. But Spring means that all the Egrets and Herons and Ibises will be coming back, and the Ospreys will be building their new nest on the broadcast tower at Toppa Field and in the trees and platforms in and around the salt marshes in the south end of town. So I'm finally getting ready to let go of Winter and welcome Spring.

© 2009 by A. Roy Hilbinger


  1. Roy-we had snow today-I am glad to see your crocus. There is still over a foot on top of mine.

  2. Beautiful shots. I love the crocuses and the birds you captured. Of course, here, we barely have winter, but I don't mind seeing it or spring in pictures.

  3. ...unfortunately, a cold front is moving in as I type this :-( I just hope we don't get snow next week! Love the red in the house finch and the cardinal...beautiful photos. The Witch Hazel is very cool. I'd like to get some of that for my yard!

  4. That was sweet torture...thank you I guess.

  5. Oh, that cardinal is a beauty. Do you have anything that you could carry with you to record the song? I'd love that.

  6. i saw my first snowdrops today!!!! you take the best bird portraits!!