Yet, dear readers, nature is well adapted to these conditions and has proceeded. I have captured a few winks and blinks of the passage of time. The photos are all taken in the last week of April.
Things move very fast during Spring. The snow melted slowly, thanks to the cool weather, which limited local flooding. Though the land is still saturated, there is a lot of growing going on in the forest. Taking advantage of the short period of time between snow melt and leafing out of deciduous trees, many forest floor plants leap into leaf and flower. As a group, these plants are called Ephemerals. Along with a few local butterflies, moths and insects that overwinter as adults, and very early migratory birds which join their resident alumnae, the forests and other ecosystems emerge from winter.
The ephemeral ponds and marshes are wild with amphibian activity as western chorus frogs, spring peepers and wood frogs join leopard frogs, and salamanders for very intense breeding activity announced through continuous vocalisations.
In this part of the world, frost is a threat right up to the third week of May. The plants that emerge in April are very frost tolerant. These hardy plants cover the forest floor. Depending on the soils, aspect and geology, different plants tend to dominate.
Some of them, as with later Spring and Summer plants, are aliens, and can be invasive. Although
Coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara, is an alien and can be invasive in other parts of Ontario, in this region, it isn't seen very often in the forest:
The flowers emerge from a rhizome before the leaves emerge. Early pollinators are eager to aid in its reproduction.
Also at Beryl Gaffney Park, in south Ottawa, along the Rideau River, an Eastern Comma Butterfly flies after a long winter, and just down the path, we spy a Cecropia Moth cocoon.
|Note the leafess rhizome. To the right of the Coltsfoot is a single leaf of the Trout Lily another yellow flower which will grace our forests early in May.|
|Eastern Comma (photo courtesy of Jon Ruddy)|
|Cecropia Moth cocoon with Jon Ruddy's hand|
The day after, I ventured from home to the March Highlands, which, with its marble-sandstone geology, provides a variety of interesting habitats which in turn, yield a diversity of soil types and plants.
In one area, a large number of Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis L. emerges. These lovely flowers are found in much of North America (different varieties). Some have been cultivated as most desirable garden flowers. They are members of the Papaveraceae (Poppy Family).
In parts of the path, Hepatica make an appearance. These flowers, named for the liver lobe leaves, come in a variety of pastel colours, carpeting the early spring forest floor. I like observing them from their forest floor perspective: