The First Tiger Swallowtail of the Season

It was a simply beautiful weekend, with porch temperatures as high as 76° at our place.

The next week or two are going to be among the best in the entire year. Most of the sarvis (Juneberry, serviceberry) is in bloom. This is the first native tree to flower. The first one bloomed on my property on the 13th, but there are several that are not in full bloom yet. One older tree on the south side of the ridge has already bloomed and dropped its flowers. They don’t last long. It seems that there are fewer and fewer of these beautiful trees every year, which may be because conditions have to be exactly right for it to fruit. Someone once told me that they had only seen it fruit once in twenty years, and I can’t recall ever seeing it fruit. And, of course, people cut them down, because they don’t look like much when they aren’t blooming. If you have them, it is a good idea to mark them, so they aren’t accidentally cut.

The redbuds are in full bloom on my property, and the crab apple has just started to flower. Yesterday, I saw the first light green and white flowers starting to show on some of my dogwoods. It always takes them longer to come than I anticipate, but I imagine that there will be some in bloom this weekend and for a week or two afterwards, depending on conditions.

Yesterday, I also saw the first tiger swallowtail. I’ve been seeing the mourning cloaks for about a month, but the only other butterflies I’ve seen have been blues (probably blue hairslips) and a white butterfly (probably a cabbage butterfly). I don’t collect them any more, because I’m old enough to remember how many there were before DDT came into use, and how few there have been ever since, so I have to rely on sneaking up on most of them to get positive identifications.

On the slightly less positive side of the scale, today the first pollen was noticeable on my car, and I saw the first carpenter bee flying around.

This Saturday, March 24, trout and turkey season come in together. If you are out in the woods, remember that hunters may be present. If you hear crow, owl, or turkey calls, remember that it is very likely that they are being made by a turkey hunter.

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