Friday, February 4, 2011

Early Spring?

Cardinal and Purple Finches

I know most of the country is experiencing some crazy winter weather. Snow in Dallas!! And, my relatives near St. Louis were snowed in a couple of days ago with Interstate 70 closed across Missouri. Unthinkable.

The winter has been fairly mild in our hollow. Last Saturday, the temperature rose to 65 degrees. My bees were flying further from the hive then I observed when the temperature was in the 40s. I found some on the compost pile. So, I sliced up a good orange and put it there just to see if they would eat it.

Honey Bee January 30, 2010

Within a few minutes, one bee landed on the cut orange slice and slurped up the juice like this was normal. That bee no doubt went back to the hive and communicated to the other bees via the waggle dance where the oranges were located (a short video explaining waggle dance is here).

Evidently, the bee was successful in recruiting foragers. Within an hour, several bees were on the oranges.

After that experiment, I went on a walk through our woods.

Pileated Woodpecker January 30, 2011

This pileated woodpecker landed on a tree nearby and made an alarm call. I didn't think he had seen me but then a few minutes later when I walked about 50 feet away, he did the same thing. He landed on a tree right in front of me, sounding more calls and then flew away quickly before I could take a photo. So, I guess he was telling me that these woods were his.

A winter walk in the woods is mostly brown so any green provides a strong contrast, such as this moss-covered log . . .

Christmas Fern January 27, 2011

. . . or a Christmas Fern which stays green all winter.

Golden Ragwort
February 2, 2011

What most caught my eye the other day was the emerging leaves of the Golden Ragwort. This plant doesn't bloom until late spring but puts up leaves anytime it gets warm in late winter.

Maybe spring is just around the corner just like the groundhog predicted!


  1. Oh I hope you're right! How fascinating that you keep Bee's, it's something I have always thought would be fun to do, plus the honey benefit.

  2. Hoping for spring here in the Ozarks, but with snow on the ground and a wintry mix in our forecast for later tonight, spring just ain't cooperating. Glad you bees enjoyed their citrus treat.

  3. Oh I do hope Spring comes early for us!! How cool that the bee did the "dance" and told the others about the orange. Nature is so fascinating!!!

  4. Brit Gal Sarah--we've had another almost warm day in the 50s. The bees were out again.

    Marvin--I think the Ozarks has the winter we had last year. It's supposed to be very cold the end of this week so it's not over yet.

    Kerri--yes, I love early spring and can't wait to see some native wild flowers.