Friday, May 30, 2014

Spring comes to Maine

Winter holds on for a very long time in Maine, and when spring arrives, it comes in fits and starts, teasing one day with balmy temperatures, then retreating as the temperature plummets (on May 29, the overnight temperature was 32F/0C). But eventually, the warmth stays to slowly heat the ground, and tiny brilliant green leaves adorn the trees, warblers stop briefly on their way north, grabbing nectar from apple blossoms, and young foxes romp in the sunshine outside their den. It is a time of new energy in the lengthening days.

For me, the cool weather is a welcome respite from Bangkok's heat, but for those who lived through a hard winter, there is impatience alternating with celebration. In the woods, new growth springs forth in a display of multiple shades of green dotted with flashes of color in the spring plumage of birds. And in the human world, there is a scurry of activity, not unlike that of the small rodents who bustle about foraging for last fall's seeds, as workers prepare summer cottages for returning "snow birds" from warmer climes to the south. It is a beautiful time.

Photos © by the author. All rights reserved. Do not use without permission.

A bold pine squirrel confronts us at the bird feeder.

Spring comes in multiple shades of green over the white of last year's dry cattails.
Ferns unroll their fronds.
Foxes give birth in late April or early May. These kits, along with two other siblings, are under a shed near our cottage. Their mother takes them hunting at night, and after a morning nap, they come out in the afternoon to play. Curious but wary, they allow us to come quite close, but not too close! From evidence at the den, we note that their prey includes birds and rabbits (Note the crow wings between them).
At Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, boats are prepared for the summer.
A beautiful layer of green emerges, enhanced by delicate blossoms. 
Ferns unfold, ready to spread their tiny spores.
Flox blooms for Memorial Day.
Virginia creeper re-appears in May.
New growth provides a lovely frame for the Mill Brook in Blue Hill.

New annual growth on spruce among the birches.

As the water warms and night temperatures drop to near freezing, fog forms on the surface of lakes, ponds and the harbor, creating a dreamy scene in the morning.