Whatever you are encountering in our current week is happening at Shad Time.
Fly-catching kingbirds have returned because the warmth that brings the shad to bloom also prompts bugs to hatch. These events depend on the weather and are not precisely correlated to the calendar. They coincide with the arrival of their namesake shad fish coming to spawn in natal brooks and rivers.
|Episodes in time|
Apple blossom advent
Just now towhees take to the treetops to advertise their homesteading plans, intoning chewink, chewink or pweet, pweet. The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology's description of this bird as "a strikingly marked, oversized sparrow of the East" suggests a feathery conclusion by a committee of the arts and sciences.
"The strikingly marked, oversized sparrow"
Warblers are now on the move, often at dizzying and elusive speed. It is said that the neon-colored redstarts flash their feathers to scare insects, which they then catch in the air.
Luckily for birdwatchers the warblers' movement through our area to northern breeding grounds occurs just before tree foliation would make our view of them much more difficult. Many of the warblers depend on finding insects emerging along with the leaves.
|Black-throated blue warbler|
By the end of the week the most delicate of floral displays has ended in the litter of shad petals whose significance was incomparably greater on the tree than on the ground. In emergence the petals confirmed the unfolding of spring in the landscape and the first phase of the tree's reproductive season that will bear fruit - shad berries - for the continuity of its species.