An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Don’t Let the Snow Fool You!

4-3-17 hepatica2 IMG_6088

The recent major snow storm in the Northeast inevitably confirmed climate change doubters’ convictions. However, dramatic swings in temperature are also part of the changing climate, and the overall trend is unquestionably one of shorter winters.

The U.S. Geological Survey says spring is showing up two to three weeks earlier than normal in the southeast United States this year, from Texas to Washington, and is making its way gradually north. This scientifically-proven phenology finding is based on flowering and leafing out times. In the Arctic, some grasses are flowering a month early, depriving hibernating animals of a crucial early-spring food source. Snowshoe hares and ermine are failing to molt their white winter coats before the world turns green, leading to less successful protection (and for the ermine, predation) for these animals. The climate scientists have it right, regardless of the white world outside our windows — New York City’s forecast is for the mid-60’s on Wednesday. Who knows what flowers we’ll find when the snow soon melts – perhaps the unfurling flower buds of Round-leaved Hepatic (pictured).

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10 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    Mary, you had to get your elbows in the leaves for that beautiful photo! (Here, 25 miles south of Boston): I came home yesterday mid afternoon to my crocuses in bloom. Went out with my iPad: surprise! Very hungry Honey bees were buzzing, and gathering nectar, not interested that I was so close & getting some pretty neat videos and photos. Last year the same Crocuses were blooming March 10th. Photos of Hellebore, in a mostly shady area were blooming Feb. 21st, but this year, not yet. I haven’t heard any Spring Peepers….sometimes heard mid March in previous years.

    April 3, 2017 at 7:34 am

  2. Kathryn

    Thank you for addressing climate change and its’ affects. The deny-ers may deny but those of us who actually enjoy and observe nature know better. It makes me so sad.

    April 3, 2017 at 10:02 am

  3. Here in southern Ontario we have had so little snow the past 4 years! We get freezing rain, which is dangerous for us and wildlife. Owls get drenched in icy water, their feathers don’t shed water like other birds and then they are in danger of exposure. The ground is frozen so this water just runs off and does not absorb into the soil. We have had drought in many areas for the past year, with no snow or melt off then a dry summer it’s been frustrating to say the least. This is when I wish Americans would pay attention to the rest of the world and what is happening. Cuba is also going into another year drought, they are losing trees along their south shoreline. With the drought in Canada we experiencing high winds which are unlike anything before in duration and speed. Plus you can feel the difference in the suns high UV, something that 25 years was not an issue working outside in landscaping. It is an issue now. I read about the snow you get south of the Great Lakes, it’s Lake Effect Snow, we don’t get that except in the area just south of Georgian Bay.

    April 3, 2017 at 10:03 am

    • Alice Pratt

      It’s so interesting and concerning as well, to read what others are experiencing. It builds empathy.

      April 3, 2017 at 3:11 pm

  4. It’s the wild swings that worry me most. It is hard not to worry!

    April 3, 2017 at 1:19 pm

  5. Stallworth Larson

    Your blog is so good and we appreciate all the super information you give us and our grandchildren but please do not have your blog become politicized like here where you point out dreaded confirmed climate change doubters. I am not at all convinced that anything different/special is going on let alone that it is caused by humans and particularly petroleum consumption. If that makes me an evil person for you …If others want to believe that, that’s fine with me as long as they do not tell me how to live my life.

    I do not know what church you go to or even if go to one because I know in our wonderful culture and society you are not going to tell me what church I should go to. Ditto climate change.

    Please keep up your good work which we enjoy supporting with our donations and please keep it to nature not politics.

    Stallworth Larson

    East Dorset, VT

    April 3, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    • I’m sorry you feel this way, Stallworth. The reason behind my sharing my natural history passion with others, especially children, is my hope and belief is that it fosters a sense of stewardship for the natural world. Issues such as the effects of a changing climate will thus hopefully matter to these individuals and their life style may be altered, benefiting the environment. Thank you very much for your support.

      April 4, 2017 at 9:09 am

  6. Kathie Fiveash

    Unlike Stallworth, I appreciate your addressing important environmental issues, and particularly issues that are as comprehensively studied as climate change. Also, I think that sometimes it is well to remember that it might be more accurate as we look at all the fluctuations in our weather to think about climate instability that is caused by the warming of the planet. The symptoms of global warming are not always warming.

    April 3, 2017 at 10:57 pm

  7. Michele Girard

    Thank you for this lovely photograph. Hepatica is my favorite spring ephemeral, and I rarely find it in bloom. Your photograph is a gift!

    April 4, 2017 at 7:01 pm

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