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Poor Will's Almanack: April 28 – May 4, 2015

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The week ducklings and goslings hatch on the shore of rivers and lakes, the week daddy longlegs crawl up into the undergrowth and orchard petals blow away as the moon turns full. It is the week that northern spring field crickets, the first singing crickets of the year, begin to sing.

Golden seal, sedum, golden Alexander, and Solomon's seal seasons show in the deep woods. Peony buds are an inch across. Orange poppies flower, and ruby-throated hummingbirds reach syrup feeders.

Sweet Gum trees , white mulberry trees, black walnut trees and oak trees blossom through the high canopy. Dragonflies hunt the swamps, where cattails are almost always two or three feet tall. Cliff swallows migrate as more and more question mark and cabbage butterflies hatch.

Along the eastern seaboard, Horseshoe Crab Mating Season brings the crabs to shore at full moon. And at this point in the year, the second major wave of migrating songbirds reaches the Lake Erie shore. That wave includes being white-throated sparrows, ruby-crowned kinglets, yellow-rumped warblers, tanagers, grosbeaks, and orioles.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the second week of late spring. In the meantime, listen for the early crickets of 2015. They help to make up for the decline in middle spring birdsong, and prophesy the sounds of July’s cicadas and Augusts katydids.


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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.