Dogtooth violets carpet the woods more than usual this May. Before other low-growing plants take over, they’re a bright yellow (not violet) reminder the sun is in the sky for longer each day. I nearly tripped a few times admiring the expanse of color.
Purple trilliums dot the woods floor here and there among the dogtooth violets and in one spot have taken over. The flower is also called wake-robin and stinking Benjamin, not a flattering name for a pretty blossom, but up close you can’t miss the nasty scent.
Our woods are home to a pair of barred owls. This morning the two of them perched silently in adjacent trees along the lane, apparently blasé about the crows flapping around and complaining about their presence. I can’t wait to see the owlets, decked out in fluffy feathers and learning to hunt frogs in the small pond. Sasha, of course, paid no attention to the activity in the trees. She was as usual nose to the ground.
Many songbirds have returned north to our feeder to join the chickadees and nuthatches—goldfinches, house finches, and others I’d need to study a bird book to name. But the king—or queen—of the woods is a woodpecker. I laugh along whenever I hear the loud ha-ha-ha-ha-ha echo through the trees. The pileated woodpecker is the largest North American woodpecker, about crow size, but its red crest and long tail feathers make it appear larger. It was the model for Woody the Woodpecker.
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