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First wildflowers of 2011

Reflection of trees in sunglasses

Our hillsides are shaded and cool and still flower-free, but I had a feeling that our recent warm spell had tempted out the early spring ephemerals at the sunnier Sugar Hill.

Hepatica pollination by beetles

The hepatica was in full bloom, and two beetles were checking out one flower's stamens.  I guess I know who's out pollinating at this time of year.

Sprouting buckeye

On the drive to town, we saw two weeping willows starting to leaf out, and Sugar Hill's buckeyes were also unfurling their leaves.  I'd never seen a sprouting buckeye before --- beautiful, isn't it?  Since buckeye leaves are easily nipped by heavy frosts, I guess that's one more vote for an early spring.

Sporing moss

No photos, but I also saw the year's first Spring Azure butterflies.  These weren't the first butterflies of the year, though --- Mourning Cloaks, Commas, and Question Marks were already out flying in last week's warmth.

If you live in our area or further south, now's a great time to head out and see spring in action!

Need to go out of town for the weekend?  Our chicken waterer keeps your flock hydrated without a petsitter.

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