Thursday, May 22, 2008

Spring Things


Today was a gorgeous day. Bright and sunny, with temperatures hovering around 57. The steady breezes of earlier in the week seem to have abated some.

At work, in fact, we're making a spring transition. As the days warm up, we don't need to turn the heat on before guests arrive and sometimes even prop a door to outside open once they do. Before long, though, we'll be relying on the AC to keep things comfortable. For now, these days are lovely.

Out in the garden there, these German bearded irises are blooming and how could I resist offering them as the latest entry in the 2008 Spring Purple Parade?

On another front, I've been a little remiss in sharing with you. About two weeks ago I made a video clip of one of my favorite things about this time of year: the spring peeper.

Living in the Adirondacks, the sound of these tree frogs was my annual indicator that spring truly was upon us, as their song usually coincides with the warmer rains and nights of a certain temperature (usually around 50F is when it starts). Generally, it was a song that you'd hear momentarily, as you drove or walked past some vernal pond or wetland area.

At our last place, in Eastham, we were living right on the pond and so we had the chance to get to know them a little up close and personal. They would find their way from the big natural pond up to our little plastic koi pond. On particularly rainy nights, we found them clinging to the sides of the house and the screen door.

Each spring there'd one frog who'd start. (The first link above includes recordings of the singular call, as well as the sound of the masses) He'd sing for a night or two, tentatively at first and then more decisively, as others began to emerge and add their calls to his song...and before long, a delightful natural cacophony that's part car alarm and part the sound of alien spaceships in the 60s, but at a distance often mistaken for crickets.

We found they would sing on and off throughout the summer, unless it was too hot or too cold. During the height of their spring emergence, they can be quite loud. We discovered during those times it was almost impossible to talk on the phone outside, or near an open window.

They're easier to track down when there's only one or two singing. When they're all doing their thing, it's crazy-making to try. You won't see any on this clip, but click on the "peeper" tag below and you'll find some photos from previous years.

I miss living so near to them this year; I'd grown accustomed to them. Now I'm back to only hearing them as I drive by or distantly while I'm out walking with Em in the evening. So when I found this pond not far from work, how could I resist capturing it?

With no further adieu, I present the spring peepers:

6 comments:

dykewife said...

we don't have spring peepers here, just regular frogs in the lakes and rivers. the closest i can get to that sound is when the crickets have a reproduction bloom.

afod said...

So that's the sounds of peepers?! I would have wrongly assumed it was coming from crickets. As you continued panning to the left, I thought I started seeing the remains of snow still sticking to the ground. And I thought, "No way!" It was interesting to note that the deciduous trees are still fairly barren without much foliage. But those purple bearded irises!! Whoa! What a statement! I have the white bearded irises as you know, but they don't have as much "punch." Great photo and video. Thanks for sharing!

Butch said...

I took one look at that Iris and my mind suddenly leaped to the first line of an Handel aria which starts like this:

"Hence. Hence! Iris hence away!!"
Of course it has nothing to do with the flowers but never the less, that is what my mind locked on to. ;-) Beautiful picture. I think it's going to take some time for mine to start blooming. There is one patch where the dog continues to run through it and those poor plants are having a rough time adapting to the intrusion. I lost an Hollyhock that had been growing there for a few years so it was either Sean or the weather (or both) somehow played into its demise. Hope your day is going well.

Greg said...

It's kind of a crazy sound when you get right up in the thick of them...easily mistaken for crickets, that's for sure...tho of course the crickets don't usually do their thing until later in the year...

Afod, I bet your white irises are just lovely. Best photos of them are probably taken pretty early in the day, tho, when the sun's low and hitting them at an angle...get some colored ones next year to add a little contrast!!

Butch, only Handle could make "Hey, Iris, get lost!" sound so delightful...and that's without the music! Sorry to hear that Sean and Mother Nature's romping has caused some attrition. No garden is without that sort of tragedy, tho--it just makes the blooms that DO flourish that much sweeter!

Patrick said...

I took some much less successful photos of Irises a few days ago; once again you've captured the color beautifully. While I anticipate violets and lilacs, for some reason irises take me by surprise every year. Only once they have sprung up do I remember how much I love them. Not sure what that is all about, but Spring is full of those recurring surprises for me. Love the peepers. We didn't live near a body of water where I grew up, so they weren't a seasonal marker for me until my adulthood. I still only get to hear them very occasionally, so I'm grateful for this video.

Greg said...

Patrick, there's a deep purple (almost black!) iris that blooms here at work in a week or so that will, I think, blow you away! I'll do my best to get a good shot of it this year.

Even tho I have a reasonable idea of what to expect and in what order from spring blooming, there are surprises every year! Sometimes its just that I've forgotten just how lovely some things are...

Glad you enjoyed the peepers!! They always make me smile.