Spring Arrives on the Wings of Cumulus Clouds

Towering Cumulus

The hummingbirds – at least a few of them – are back, we just heard the first oriole in search of grape jelly, and we’ve had the first towering cumulus cloud of the season. In fact, even a junior cumulonimbus (thunderhead) threatens from the west. It isn’t a grown-up thunderstorm but I see from the weather bureau’s lightning forecast map that it has a 40% chance of producing some lightning. In fact, I think I just heard a far-off rumble.

Spring finally arrived.

Female Downy Woodpecker

Just yesterday, a female Downy Woodpecker stopped by for a snack. Although most Downies are thought not to migrate, this is the first one we’ve seen in a while. Because they are widespread, in North America anyway, they are popular little birds. The smallest North American woodpeckers,they are more numerous than their larger cousins, the Hairy Woodpeckers. (The males of both species have a red spot at the top of their necks and the white backs are definitive. Downies are smaller and have smaller bills.) Downies even have their own book.

And we had ten toads in our little water feature in the backyard. They made horny toad music for much of the night.


We are not good at our frogs and toads. If anyone can tell us what these are, we’d appreciate it.


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