Signs of Spring

Spring has sprung (finally) on Cape Cod – and the signs are abundant! They can been seen, heard, and felt all around us.

 

A view of Sandy Neck from the Great Marsh in West Barnstable.

A view of Sandy Neck from the Great Marsh in West Barnstable.

1 – You’re Outside

It’s true! The chilly weather kept many of us indoors before this weekend. Now the sun is shining, the

breezes are warming, and there is so much to do and see out in nature!

 

                                           

 

2 – The Birds are Back

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A newly made Osprey nest overlooking the Great Marsh.

From osprey to robins, birds are making themselves known with their varying calls. The osprey are making their sweeping arcs over the Great Marsh, hunting and making their whistling chirps between guarding their nests. Robins, finches, red-winged blackbirds and more can be heard singing and chirping to each other, no doubt building their nests and calling for mates.

 

Skunk cabbage grows wild in bogs and marshes in the spring. Here one is spotted in West Barnstable.

Skunk cabbage grows wild in bogs and marshes in the spring. Here one is spotted in West Barnstable.

3 – Skunk Cabbage Galore

If you have been anywhere near a bog in the last month, you have no doubt spotted these beautiful plants. The local variant is Symplocarpus foetidus, or eastern skunk cabbage. These plants are known for their large, bright green leaves and luscious, yellow-spotted flowers that would look right at home in the tropics. According to the Native American Ethnobotany database, skunk cabbage was used as a medicinal plant to treat a variety of maladies, including swelling, coughs, pain relief and even epilepsy[1].

Pussy willow catkins in various stages.

Pussy willow catkins in various stages.

 

 

 

4 – Pussy Willow 

Pussy willow is known by many as a harbinger of spring, and collecting it is a treasured pastime some anticipate through the cold winter – Martha Stewart included![2] These delightful shrubs produce velvety catkins and grow in a variety of locations, including swamps and the edges of wetland areas.

What do all these signs have in common? They can be found on Barnstable Land Trust properties! Skunk cabbage can be found in wetlands and boggy forests; pussy willow can be found in swamps and along the edges of wetlands; birds can be found throughout our properties – and so can you! Take a look at our protected lands catalog and map to find areas where you might spot these springtime blooms, buds and birds.

 

Sources:

[1] http://naeb.brit.org/uses/search/?string=Symplocarpus+foetidus

[2] http://www.themarthablog.com/2017/03/gathering-pussy-willows.html