By Alkali Spring Correspondent
It is spring in the beautiful Bear Paw Mountains and even though its signs are more subtle than some years, it is here and what a grand time to spend some time enjoying the mountains.
In spite of a very mild winter, spring has been slow to arrive because nights of late have really been cool. Many are the nights that it froze hard and by noon the next day, it is still frozen. That does not make for a lot of growing during the day.
In Beaver Creek Park both lakes are still frozen solid to the consternation of the hundreds of geese and ducks flying over weekly. They land on the ice as if to say that their warmth should melt the lakes and then fly away to close grain fields as if to think it over and then fly back to scout the situation one more time and then head for more promising open waters elsewhere. Some years by this time they have been already nesting on Beaver Creek. Not this year though.
We have not seen any wild flowers as late but in the beautiful meadows around Baldy just east of the Bear Paw ski area, there are some of 2000's first pussy willows blooming. And as one saying goes, when pussy willows bloom, can buttercups be far behind? Answer this year. Yes!
Chickadees are singing their spring song. If you are out and about and hear birds singing that sound like a door bell ringing two notes, that is the spring song of chickadees. Its notes are reported to say "spring's here, spring's here!" However, many have observed that the chickadee often lies. Some folks have reported seeing robins which as often as not are harbingers of false springs. The true spring bird, the blue bird at least in our haunts, has not yet been seen
So here we are telling you that spring is here and then going on about all the signs of spring that are not here yet. There is one big sign of spring that is around. That is that in the day when the sun comes out, there is a softness to the air that is only felt this time of year and oh, how delightful it feels to winter weary folks.
In the bird department around our place, our new thistle feeder never ceases to amaze us. We got a thistle feeder for Christmas and even though bird experts say it will attract more birds in the spring and summer than winter, we hung it up and waited for results.
The thistle feeder is a round tube filled with thistle seeds. Birds come and perch on tiny perches on the sides of the feeder and eat the thistle. You can even get these feeders in which birds hang upside down to eat. Neat to watch.
At or place, that feeder has attracted more birds then we have ever had here. At first we had no birds eating at all. Then by moving the feeder to the other side of the house, we were able to get lots of chickadees and woodpeckers. Now we are getting some small brown sparrow like birds with delicate pastel yellow underpinnings at the thistle feeder all day long and for some reason we have now attracted lots of juncos, redpolls and rosy finches. They don't eat at the thistle feeder but do eat plenty of regular bird seed. Never since we left Alkali Springs have we been feeding so many birds. Is it because of the thistle feeder? You tell us.
In the weather department, streams are not running well at all and there does not look to be a great deal of runoff left at this point. What we need are either warm spring rains or a huge dump of snow. If left to choose, give us about a week of soft, gentle rain. However, anything wet will do. There are a few massive drifts left in the high country. One old timer over on Beaver Creek used to say that if there were still large drifts on the mountains by the first day of fishing season in May, it was going to be a good and wet fishing season. The way things are going this year with it being so cool, there just might be drifts left by the first day of fishing season.'
Anyhow get on out and observe the subtle signs of spring for yourself. It is guaranteed to make you feel like spring yourself!