Saturday, March 7, 2015

SOLSC March 8th - Spring is Springing!

Join me as I participate in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge. Other "Slicers" can be found among my students in the comments of my class blog. There are also several hundred teachers participating at

Living in Denver, it's often hard to tell, on any particular day, what season it is. Last year the biggest snowstorm of the winter was on May 15th as twelve inches of heavy snow blanketed the city. This January we had several days in the 70s and in early February I watered the lawn and flower beds since it had been so warm and dry the past month. I'm not saying we haven't had some real cold or snow, but until a few weeks ago, winter had seemed to be a rather long and mild fall, minus the colorful foilege. Then we got several snowstorms back-to-back, including several nights below zero and for two weeks we had winter. But a great part about winter here is snow is usually followed by cloud-free, blue skies, rivers of snowmelt in the gutter, and sun so bright you want to wear shorts, even if it's just above freezing.

photo credit: Northern Flicker 03 via photopin (license)
Since Colorado seems capable of any type of weather, any day of the year, I must look for other clues to tell when spring is really 'springing.' The past two weeks, even as the snow raged outside followed by the past two days of bright sunshine, I have seen these clues.

The flickers are calling. These year-round woodpeckers are starting to make their distinctive calls. I've even heard a couple banging away on gutters and HVAC units, trying to drum up mates and carve out some territory of their own.

The Canada Geese are starting to pair up. During the winter, they congregate in large flocks that seem to forget they are supposed to be farther south. They hang out in the parks, lakes and all over my school campus, leaving behind a tootsie-roll sized 'present' an average of every twenty minutes (That fact is made up from what I think I learned once). But when I start seeing pairs of geese separating themselves from the flock, I know that spring is getting close and they will be looking for nesting spots and getting rather hissy.

My bulbs are starting to green up and the crocuses are flowering. To be honest, I saw this three weeks ago before we had all the snow. The crocus buds were just showing, hiding away their color. It's a good thing too because soon they were buried under three-foot tall piles of snow on the edge of my driveway. But most of the snow has melted and yesterday, the first five crocuses burst forth with their purple petals, daring it to snow again! Today I saw what looked like a tulip stem ready to climb towards the sky in the next couple of days too.

An owlet yesterday evening. iPhone through my binoculars worked well.
The owls in the wetlands have already hatched their chicks and the owlets are flying around branch to branch. We went looking for them yesterday and we found three 'babies.' They were adult-sized but downey, giving little "feed me" screeches. We saw one harried adult, flying off to find more food. They must have been hatched just before the weather got nasty. I now wonder if great horned owls have multiple broods during the year? There seem to be enough bunnies around to support them.

Last, I know it's spring because the time change starts today. The rhyme tells me we sprang forward last night, but the extra daylight after school will be the real sign. I love that it will be light enough after school to get outside and DO something!


  1. Yes, I know spring is coming. I light is even different. Love your time outdoors and the pictures, Max. Happy Sunday!

  2. Wonderful photos to reaffirm us of spring's presence. I admire your skill with your phone and binoculars! I will belooking for signs of spring here in Michigan this week.

  3. I live in Denver too! I'm loving seeing all of those signs of spring. February was so long and cold that I sort of forgot it had been a mild winter until then!

  4. Oh yes, I remember well looking for signs of Spring after a claustrophobic winter. Your post made me miss seasons and how each brings its own gifts. Loved your descriptions of the birds and what they have to offer as winter thaws. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I loved your slice Max. I can't wait for spring to come and see all the beautiful colors. :)

  6. Denver confuses me. I'm friends with Linda on Facebook and can never figure out how you guys deal with such massive temperature swings in the winter. It's so bizarre to me. Out East, it's just cold for months. It seems to get some reprieves.