Natural Delmarva – 1st week of February – what’s going on besides rain? Well, a lot!

Today’s rain is further pushing the snowmelt, slowly melting nitrogen down into the soil. Floating as it is, on the water, the Delmarva peninsula could use a good soak of fresh snow and rain – pushing everything through the soil, out again.

The tundra swans continue to rest and feed up for their spring migration, eating grasses, seeds, tubers, some mollusks. They’ll continue to flock and sleep out on the water in groups, whistling to each other with a sound like no other. Beautiful.

Maryland Blue crabs and terrapin are now hibernating deep in the thick mud of the Bay. Blue crabs migrate in fall toward the bottom of the Bay in Virginia, dig in and stay there. The Diamondback terrapin are believed to be the only turtle in the world that lives exclusively in brackish water. They hibernate in tidal marshes; I wonder how many have burrowed deep into Mayberry’s wide marsh, waiting for spring. Here’s a picture of one I found last summer.

American Witch Hazel is blooming now, I used to see it daily when I worked at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Look in mature landscapes for its yellow and orange blooms. In fact, that’s a good reason to go visit Atkins Arboretum, here on Delmarva, to find and bring some pictures here of this lovely winter native.

The Maple trees that cover the yard where I live continue to soak up moisture, their buds gradually swelling with moisture and growth. Walking this past week, I heard the woods soaking up the melting and dropping snow. If you stop and listen, you can hear the sound of the ground slurping water. I think of all three gardens I love here – Pot Pie Farm, the estate and our community garden, and appreciate the slow winter decomposition of nutrients in the soil, and the active compost piles that will feed that soil this spring. I ordered some seed this week.

Rockfish are on the run, feeding heavily in the Bay. I read yesterday that female rockfish, which ordinarily winter north along the Atlantic Seaboard, have moved into the Bay in record numbers this winter. The food supply on the Atlantic is not adequate this winter to feed them.

The local birds are thriving, with their natural adaptations to the weather. According to this week’s Bay Journal, nearly a million waterfowl fly to the Chesapeake region from northern breeding grounds each winter, and some 340 species leave North America entirely to winter in the tropics. Those local birds who can switch from an insect diet to a seed diet stick around during winter. At my window, remarkable cooperation and sharing of feed between some 30 individuals – a few fights, but quickly resolved. We should all be so sharing.

~ by kbosin on February 5, 2011.

2 Responses to “Natural Delmarva – 1st week of February – what’s going on besides rain? Well, a lot!”

  1. Rare Finds nursery in NJ is having a witch hazel festival this weekend…with lots of 3 gallon pots of the beautiful plant for sale along with hellebores and hardy cyclamen..Yep, I’ll be there!

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