Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Barn Swallows, Tree blossoms and Invasive species

The Barn Swallows are back! I saw two by Wingra creek this morning. I also saw a Chipping Sparrow today. They also come back around this time of year. The only other common backyard bird (or at least common in our backyard!) that isn't back yet is the Wren.

I think the above are boxelder (Acer negundo) blossoms. Once I noticed one tree, I noticed tons of box elders everywhere blossoming! I didn't know that there were so many boxelder trees in the neighborhood. I read that boxelders produce male and female flowers on separate trees. I will have to take a closer look and see if I can tell the difference. Boxelders are a kind of Maple (Acer genus). Two other kinds of maples -- silver and red also bloom early. In fact, I think they bloom in late March and early April. I looked at the silver maple by her house today, and it has seeds starting to form. I am always glad when I see that because I am allergic to silver maple pollen! Though this year I hardly got any allergies. Either my allergies or better, or the trees didn't produce much pollen this year.

The above is a picture of male catkins on a cottonwood tree (Populus deltoides). Apparently, the male and female flowers of cottonwood trees are on separate trees. The female catkins are green. I will have to look and see if I find any of those.

The apricot tree in our yard has had blossoms for a few days now. The tree is four years old, but still hasn't produced any fruit. Maybe it's because it blooms too early?

It is hard to see in the above picture, but the shrub in it has leaves coming out. I think this shrub is Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica). This shrub is also everywhere! It is one of the only things I can see leafing out right now. It is an invasive, and greens early, and stays green late in the season. At least it is not wind-pollinated, so it probably doesn't cause allergies.

Talking of invasives, creeping charlie or ground ivy(Glechoma hederacea) has been blooming for a few days now. I also saw my first dandelion bloom at Quann community gardens today. Then later I saw one at our house, and then later lots more along the roadside!

1 comment:

  1. Ooo! We saw the female catkins yesterday on the Isthmus. I was wondering what they were! Now I know why I have started sneezing again, those cottonwoods are nasty!