Warm and Sunny

February has been a month of contrast: snow, temps in the teens, sun, temps in the upper 70s...in other words, perfectly normal.

Yesterday was a fine day. It was a bit windy, but beautiful otherwise. The sun was shining and the temperature climbed toward 80. Treebeard and I walked our boundary line just to see what was about.

In the wooded portion of our property we saw a few things that made us smile...

May apple, also known as American mandrake, just beginning to emerge. 

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A lead phase red-backed salamander temporarily caught up in a bit of web.
A tiny female hazelnut flower...
along side the large male catkins.

We decided to stroll down to the millpond to see if one of the alligators might be out sunning. No alligator, but we did catch a fleeting glimpse of a mink moving through the rip rap at the spillway. He would not cooperate for a better photo.
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There were plenty of turtles out catching some rays. Unfortunately they were all too far away for a reasonable photo. This one appears to be either a slider or a cooter. I can't make a more definitive ID because I couldn't see the necessary field marks.

We saw one snake while we were out. This eastern kingsnake was enjoying the last of the warm afternoon sun. If he continues to hang out in this area he will enjoy plenty of opportunities to hunt. This area has a large population of cottonmouths, particularly in the early spring when they emerge from their hibernacula.
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KaHolly said...

Hazelnut flower!! That's all I need to see!! Yay, spring! What a great walk. I can't believe all the things you saw. Minks, snakes, salamanders......I want to go for a real walk with you someday. ~karen

swamp4me said...

You would be most welcome to walk with us anytime. Just let me know if you ever find yourself in our neck of the woods!

KaHolly said...

Oh, thank you very much. You just never know where I'll end up. I'm a gypsy. ~karen

Ellen Rathbone said...

What a handsome snake! And a wonderful mink! I've commented before on how soon your spring arrives, but even here in MI we are feeling spring in the air - heard a red-winged blackbird this AM. I guess I'm still on Adirondack time.

swamp4me said...

Winter will rear up and smack us a couple more times before spring really settles in, but it is nice to have a brief reprieve :)

jason said...

I'm glad to see better weather is affording you and Treebeard some comfortable time out and about. The mink is awesome! They're such cute critters. And that snake is one heck of a charmer. Very good looking!

Floridacracker said...

A mink photo! Sweet.
Man I love kingsnakes and their kin.

swamp4me said...

Treebeard and I have been getting out some but more often than not now I leave the camera behind. Not sure why that is -- perhaps it's just a phase :)

That stinker of a mink wouldn't sit still. It just kept moving in and out through those rocks. And I'm quite partial to kingsnakes myself ;)

knapperbill said...

That kingsnake is gorgeous! Great captures all the way around.


swamp4me said...

Thanks, Bill. It's nice to see reptiles out and about again.

Randy Emmitt said...

Hard to believe we are seeing snakes and salamanders already in NC. We had our first butterfly yesterday a Mourning Cloak.

Sybil said...

What a wonderful Blog !

Living in Nova Scotia I probably have the same misconceptions about the climate of North Carolina as some Americans have about us.

Thank you for teaching me about your neck of the woods and the marvellous critters there.

I smiled when you said it was in the "teens" as I thought "how wonderful" -- then realized it was in farenheit. (smile)

I'll be back ...

Best wishes,

Eastern Passage, NS

swamp4me said...

Hi Sybil,
Welcome and thanks for stopping by! I always forget to designate Fahrenheit when I'm giving temperatures - sorry about that :) One of these days my husband and I hope to travel up to Nova Scotia. We've been to the southwestern part of New Brunswick but that's been the extent of our travels in Canada.