Easter Eggs

Hunting for Easter eggs?  Tadpole Haven has eggs!  The Pacific Chorus Frogs have been busy.  The kiddy pools where we grow wetland plants are full of egg clutches.  These clusters of brown-and-cream colored eggs are in a chicken-egg size clump of clear jelly bigger than the frog that laid it!  The females lay their eggs around narrow stems of shoreline plants such as Marsh Cinquefoil (Potentilla palustris), Water Parsley (Oenanthe sarmentosa), Common Rush (Juncus effusus) and even the roots and smaller stems of Red-Twig Dogwood (Cornus sericea). 

 Chorus Frogs live in shady forest during the year and only come to lakes and ponds to breed.  The tadpoles are tiny—about ½” long—and will metamorphose into tiny frogs by fall if their pond is warm and sunny enough.  I’m afraid we may have had some casualties last fall; there were still tadpoles in the pools in October.  Maybe we’ll have a warmer spring this year, though it sure has been chilly so far!

 Even though I found myself driving through a snowstorm yesterday, I’m seeing new life and activity in and around the nursery.  I spotted a rusty-striped Garter Snake sunning—yes, SUNNING—itself on top of some sticks yesterday.  A pair of Bald Eagles is hanging out by the lake.  I got a good look at one flying a couple of days ago, and yesterday a patch of bright white—the eagle’s head–gave away the raptor’s location, a perch in a distant White Pine (Pinus monticola).

 My sister found the head—just the head—of a female Mallard Duck on the dock.  Perhaps the eagle was the guilty party.  Yuck.  Ah, well, Circle of Life, eat-and-be-eaten, Death into Life.  Who are we trying to kid?  We’re all subject to the laws of nature, whether we are a cute ducky or a businessman in a BMW.

 I’d rather talk about the Bumblebees and Rufous Hummingbird nursing the blossoms of the big Red-Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum), the pretty new growth on the Cascade Penstemons (Penstemon serrulatus), the bright yellow-green sprouts emerging from the formerly dead-looking Goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus) pots and preparing for their annual outrageous growth spurt.  And FINALLY the Oak Fern (Gymnocarpium dryopteris) is showing some life—a few miniscule nano-fronds curling up from the dirt.  I can hardly wait until they are a frilly carpet of brilliant green.

 Come hunt some (frog) eggs and garter snakes, see if you can spot the Oak Fern fronds, get buzzed by Rufus the Hummingbird, listen for the crows announcing the eagle’s arrival. And whether celebrating Resurrection, Fertility Goddesses or just a great Spring Weekend, we’ll all be celebrating New Life.

 To Life!

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