Till we meet again

White-throated sparrow

Some of us who live in Ohio year-round  may find it hard to believe that anyone or anything would want to spend winters here let alone consider it a balmy vacation destination, yet that is exactly what some of our feathered friends do. The recent mild weather has allowed a welcome spring breeze to come in though open windows. Riding the perfumed wind comes the melodic “Oh, sweet Canada, Canada, Canada” song of the white-throated sparrow. You can listen to its sweet song HERE.

I was very surprised to hear sparrow’s song this morning for I know he’ll be packing it up and heading north to Canada for summer breeding. Other winter visitors to Ohio include the dark-eyed junco, pine siskins, long-eared owls, red-breasted nuthatches and more. You can follow the occurrence progress of many birds  HERE. Safe journeys, friends. I’ll see you again come winter.

NOTE: Get your hummingbird feeders out. They have already been spotted in Ohio. Follow their 2011 migration HERE.

 

Invasive wildflowers

Lesser celandine

Dense mat of lesser celandine

On the other side of the coin are visitors that have overstayed their welcome. Case in point is the Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) also known as the fig buttercup. Not to be confused with our native marsh marigold (Caltha palustris), this non-native invasive vernal plant forms large, dense patches in floodplain forests and some upland sites, displacing many native plant species, especially those with the similar spring-flowering life cycle.  Because it emerges well in advance of the native species, it has a developmental advantage which allows it to establish and overtake areas rapidly. (Sounds like the Amur honeysuckle!) After flowering, the above-ground foliage begins to die back and are mostly gone by June. Learn more here.

Worm update

My worms were no worse for wear considering their vermicomposting road trip to the Licking County Master Gardener Conference in Newark, OH last Saturday. In fact, a handful of them now have a new home somewhere up that way. The keynote speaker at the event was Jim McCormac who spoke on the often misunderstood group of plants: Goldenrods. If you get the opportunity to hear Jim speak, on any subject, GO. You won’t regret it. Check out his blog HERE.


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