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Poor Will's Almanack: May 3 - 9, 2011

Flickr Creative Commons user thefixer

Poor Will’s Almanack for the second week of Late Spring. The season of Late Spring deepens when daddy longlegs begin hunting in the undergrowth and darners are out in the swamps. Cliff swallows migrate as buckeyes and lilacs and garlic mustard come into full bloom. Yellow wood sorrel blossoms in the yard, and the first cycle of cabbage moths is at its peak.

Most dandelions have gone to seed by the time daddy longlegs emerge. Ruby-throated hummingbirds arrive at your feeders then, and golden seal and Solomon's seal come into bloom in the deep woods. There are buds on the black raspberries, mock orange, and mulberries. Sedum opens beside the fading trilliums.

The first wave of goslings has emerged from its eggs by this week of the year. The thrush, catbird, and scarlet tanager arrive when wild cucumber sprouts by the rivers and nettles grow up past your knees. Oak leaves are the size of a squirrel's ear. Some maples are fully leafed, and some are dropping seeds. All across the country, the high tree line is completely alive either with new glowing foliage or orange buds or golden flowers.

Next week on Poor Will's Almanack: notes for the third week of late spring. In the meantime, watch for all the flowering trees of April to lose their petals.

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Bill Felker has been writing nature columns and almanacs for regional and national publications since 1984. His Poor Will’s Almanack has appeared as an annual publication since 2003. His organization of weather patterns and phenology (what happens when in nature) offers a unique structure for understanding the repeating rhythms of the year.