Monday, 25 April 2011

Moose sighting and spring arrivals

By Thom Smith, Special to the Eagle
Updated: 04/25/2011 11:09:08 AM EDT

Monday April 25, 2011

The moose seen feeding off Route 7 in Lanesborough much of last week is an unusual, but not unheard of situation. My take is it is most likely a cow about to give birth and having found a plentiful food source is staying put for the time being.

Moose feed in or near clearings and open areas browsing on tender leaves, tree bark and twigs, aquatic and semi-aquatic vegetation. Their diet also includes, grasses and other herbaceous plants, and this one has found a bounty.

I have not seen this particular animal, and do not want to pay a visit and add to the potential dangerous situation caused by parking along a state highway.

The last week of April and the beginning of May are exciting times for winter weary Berkshire residents.

New birds are arriving almost daily and flowering plants are popping up at a refreshing rate.

Amphibians are out and about with the urge to mate as evidenced by the clamor emanating from the shallows of nearby ponds. Look for the white blossoms of the common shadbush shrub along the edges of woods.

About now, the lilacs blossom, and the time has arrived, finally, to look for a variety of different violets, perhaps in your lawn.

In the woods, look for foamflower, wake-robin, wild ginger, trout lily and maybe a few late hepaticas.

Chimney swifts may be seen and heard, as they fly over head.

Towhees and house wrens should be arriving; field and song sparrows will be singing. By now, phoebes should be on nest, and hummingbirds - first the males followed a bit later by the females - will be looking for sugar water feeders to compliment spring flowers.

Yellow warblers will be arriving, along with other spring warblers including Magnolia, black-throated blue and black-throated green, black and white, and common yellowthroats. Before the trees are fully in leaf is a wonderful time to see these small colorful birds.

The northern (Baltimore) oriole will be arriving too. And listen for the long trill of the American toad, competing with the din of the spring peeper. After all, it is spring and we deserve it.

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