Signs of Spring Calendar - 2012
• Feb. 2, Groundhog Day. 6 more weeks of winter if the groundhog sees its shadow?
• On warm, sunny days look for signs of snow fleas at the base of tree trunks, like a sprinkling of pepper on the snow.
• Great horned owls begin to nest. Listen for their hooting at night and early dawn.
• February 7th. Full moon 11:38AM. The Snow or Hunger moon
• Skunks emerge to mate about this time of year. Listen for their fights and squabbles late at night.
• Wherever there is open, clear, running water, look for stoneflies on the south-facing banks of streams. One of the few insects that is active in winter, it can sometimes be seen crawling across ice or snow. Stoneflies are one of the better indicators of clean, unpolluted water.
• February 14th – Sunrise 6:43AM Sunset 5:15PM Length of Day 10 hours 32 minutes
• February 19th. Red Sox pitchers and catchers report to Ft. Myers, FL for spring training.
• February 21st – New moon. 5:37PM
• Listen for the spring songs of Chickadees (“chick-a-dee-dee-dee”) and Tufted-titmouse (a loud, whistled “peter-peter-peter”)
• Maple sap starts running. Look for little icicles at the tips of sugar maple twigs.
• Foxes and raccoons begin their mating season around this time. Listen at night for fights.
• On the wet days of late winter, look for turkey-tail and other shelf fungi on old tree trunks and stumps.
• First of the returning Red-wing blackbirds appear.
• Starlings, House finches, Cardinals, and other birds begin singing their spring songs. Spring is in the morning air.
• Feb. 28th Sunrise 6:22AM Sunset 5:33PM Length of Day 11 hours 11 minutes
• Watch for flights of Mourning cloak butterflies on warm days.
• Watch for emerging Skunk cabbage in moist woodlands as soon as the ground thaws in these areas.
• Check the woodland edges for the swelling buds of pussy willows.
• Mud season is upon us.
• March 8th. Full moon. The Sap moon.
• March 11th. Daylight Savings Time begins at 2:00AM.
• March 14th Sunrise 6:57AM Sunset 6:51PM Length of Day 11 hours 52 minutes
• Migratory American woodcocks return to their breeding grounds. Watch for their courtship flights at dusk over old fields and listen for their “peent” call.
• Red-winged blackbirds, Grackles, and Brown-headed cow birds are steadily returning around now.
• Painted turtles are among the earliest turtles to come out of hibernation. They have even been seen swimming below ice.
• Chipmunks emerge from underground winter sleep.
• March 20th – Vernal Equinox. The first day of spring. Day and night are equal in length.
• Look for flights of returning migratory ducks in your local freshwater wetlands and ponds. Ring-necked ducks, Green-winged teal, Wood ducks, Black ducks, and mallards are all heading to their breeding grounds.
• Salamander migration begins on the first warm, rainy night. Watch for them crossing roads in wooded areas.
• Pussy willows are fuzzed out about now.
• Listen for family, friends, relatives, and neighbors to say their favorite weather or nature proverb.
• March 22nd. New moon 10:39AM
• March 28th Sunrise 6:33AM Sunset 7:07PM Length of Day 12 hours 34 minutes
• The winter constellations are moving westward. Watch for the last days of Orion and Pleiades.
• On warm days and nights, listen for the soft, ducklike “quack” call of Wood frogs from vernal pools in wooded areas.
• Willow branches start turning green.
• On sunny days, watch for early garter snakes in sunny locations around rocks and rubble, near grasses.
• Red maples bloom; look for the reddish haze in wooded swamps.
• Listen for the jingle-bell-like call of spring peepers about this time.
• Tree swallows return to the area. Watch for them “hawking” insects over ponds, marshes, and wet areas.
• Robins are returning.
• Red Sox first game. @ Detroit.
• April 6th Full moon 3:20 P.M.
• Forsythia blooms yellow about now.
• Yard grass turns green. Hay fields and old fields are still brown.
• Red Sox home opener vs. the Rays.
• April 14th Sunrise 6:04AM Sunset 7:26PM Length of Day 13 hours 22 minutes
• In wooded areas, listen for the muffled drumming sounds of the male Ruffed grouse. They get up on an old log, extend their wings in an arc, and then in a very quick motion, flap their wings. They start slowly and build up speed. This causes a loud, drumming-like sound the males use to attract a mate.
• Watch for blooming woodland wildflowers now, before the leaves come out on the trees.
• Snakes and turtles emerge from their winter quarters. Watch for them basking in sunny areas. Snakes prefer south-facing rocky slopes.
• Pine warblers, Barn swallows, and Yellow-rumped warblers are returning around now.
• Crab apples and azaleas are blooming.
• Watch for these returning birds: Towhees, Brown thrashers, House wrens, and Chimney swifts.
• Watch the ground for ants and Ladybugs.
• April 21st. New moon. 3:20AM. Watch for the sickled-shaped, spring constellation, Leo in the eastern sky. A sure sign of spring.
• April 22nd – Earth Day. The 41st anniversary of Earth Day.
• April 22nd – Lyrid meteor shower. Best seen just before dawn looking south.
• April 28th Sunrise 5:43 AM Sunset 7:42 PM Length of Day 13 hours 59 minutes
• Toads should be singing by this time; listen for their long trill from nearby swamps and marshes..
• April 30th - This is the eve of the Celtic first day of summer and the date of the Roman festival Floralia. Both were celebrations of flowers and love.
• Listen for the whistled “old, Sam peabody-peabody-peabody” song of the white-throated sparrow.
• “If apple trees bloom in April the crop will be plentiful- if they bloom in May the crop will be poor.”
• May 5th. Full moon. 11:36PM The Flower moon.
• Black-and-white warblers, yellow warblers, and Baltimore orioles return.
• Watch for early butterflies such as Spring azure, Cabbage white, and Common sulphur.
• Trout lilies, Columbine, Trillium, and other woodland wildflowers are still in bloom.
• May 14th Sunrise 5:23AM Sunset 8:00PM Length of Day 14 hours 37 minutes
• Wood thrushes, Catbirds, and Veeries return.
• The second week in May marks the height of the warbler migration. Over 20 different species of these small, colorful songsters will pass through eastern Massachusetts on their way to their breeding grounds. Watch for them in the tree tops and shrubbery.
• Mayflies are swarming.
• Listen to the dawn chorus of singing birds. It starts as early as 4:30AM and it is a caucfony of sound
• May 20th. New moon 7:48PM. . This is a good night to watch the sky for spring constellations
• The Dogwood trees blossom about now.
• Watch for blooming lilacs. “When the yellow forsythia blooms it's the time to prune roses and fertilize the lawn.”
• Dragonflies and damselflies reappear about now.
• Trees will put out their leaves about this time.
• Scarlet tanagers, Rose-breasted grosbeaks, Red-eyed vireos, and Broad-winged hawks return
4th Week May 2012
• May 28th Sunrise 5:11AM Sunset 8:13PM Length of Day 15.02 hours.
• Earthworms mate about this time of year. Watch for them on soggy nights.
• In coastal areas, this is the height of the shorebird migration.
• Monarch butterflies and Dragonflies move northward around this time.
• Tiger swallowtail butterflies can be seen now.
• Lady slippers and Jack-in-the pulpit bloom in shady woodlands.
• June 3-4, 2012: Partial eclipse of the Moon In North America, this will be fully visible only from western Alaska
• June 4th. Full moon 7:11AM. Rose moon or Strawberry moon.
• Watch for tadpoles in ponds.
• June bugs appear. Watch for them around porch lights and at screen windows.
• Listen for Bull frog choruses from freshwater marshes and ponds.
• Listen for the bubbling song of the Indigo bunting (sweet – sweet – chew-chew- sweet- sweet)
• June 14th Sunrise 5:06AM Sunset 8:24PM Length of Day 15 hours 18 minutes
• June 19th. New moon 11:03AM.
• First hatch of mosquitoes begins about this time.
• Field wildflowers bloom around this time.
• Orchids and bog-loving wildflowers bloom.
• Baby birds begin appearing about this time; watch for them on lawns and in shrubbery. Most seemingly lost babies are not orphans, their parents are nearby.
• Painted, Snapping, and Spotted turtles lay their eggs about this time of year.
• June 21st – Summer solstice, the longest day of the year. There is 15 hours and 19 minutes of day.
• June 18th. Last day of school!
• First Meadow crickets can be heard about now.
• Fireflies begin appearing in grassy areas.
• Kingbirds nest; young Baltimore orioles call from hanging nests.
• Listen for the haunted, fluted song of the Wood thrush