Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Spring Equinox-2012. Nashville, Tennessee.
There are no barn swallows here as yet, nor did I hear any spring migrants while walking today.
The oaks are leafing out. Country people used to plant corn when oak buds were as big as a squirrel's ear, though that might be rushing the season. About 5 years ago in April ,Tennessee had a late freeze and gone were the strawberries and the peaches-
I found the giant vinca, or periwinkle, shown in the photo, on the side of a park road. Its flower is twice the size of the blue vinca that has escaped old farmsteads and spread into the forest and around the stones in old cemeteries. I know of another patch of this giant periwinkle growing out at Hidden Lake.
The Spring Equinox also begins the mating season of Nashville's black snakes. I saw several yesterday along the stone walls in Percy Warner Park. Two appeared to be mating. A third seemed to be on the prowl. Stone walls are good places for snakes to live,
for chipmunks and lizards live there as well. I believe these snakes were black racers. The one on the prowl thrummed his tail on some dead leaves, trying to convince me, and my dogs, that he was a rattlesnake! His pretend rattle would be useless against his worst enemies, who do not come on foot. I have seen Barred Owls and Red-tailed Hawks flying off with desperately writhing snakes-
And here is a last photo of Virginia Saxifrage on the shale cliffs at the park.