Wednesday, March 21, 2012

See the green at the top of the trees? That's about 3 weeks premature

I know when the forest leafs out in Washington because I've been watching birds here since the 1960's. I love warblers, they are like feathered flowers or jewels. They come in colors you have to see to believe and they generally hang out in the top half of medium to large trees. They are small, smaller than most oak leaves, smaller than tulip poplar leaves, smaller than sycamore leaves. Spring migration brings waves through the area; they start in mid to late April and drop off after mid-May. I always loved the early waves, mid-April, because the leaves hadn't expanded fully leaving the birds less likely to be hidden by foliage. Now, it's been years since my eyes have been good enough to find warblers in the tops of trees, but I still listen to them. Their songs are distinctive. And I still remember when trees leaf out in Washington. Normally it's about three weeks from now.

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