|Native Red-flowering Currant blooming in the Kukutali Preserve|
Solstices occur when the sun reaches its highest and lowest points in the sky. In other words, the earth is tilted furthest toward or away from the sun for the observer. These occur around June 21 and December 22 and mark the beginnings of astronomical summer and winter respectively for the northern hemisphere.
|Native Indian Plum blooming in my yard|
Of course, if we travel to Australia, this all changes. Spring begins in September, summer in December, fall starts in March and winter begins in June. When the northern hemisphere is tilted toward the sun, the southern hemisphere is experiencing winter.
Meteorological Spring Begins Today March 1
|Northern Flicker Males in Deception Pass State Park|
|American Wigeons on Skagit Bay|
After disappearing for the winter, our Banana Slugs are now in their "Coming-Out." I found these on Kiket Island in the Kukutali Preserve across the bay. I have observed that Whidbey Island slugs have spots while Fidalgo Island slugs are plain. Kiket seems to have both.
Also on Kiket Island, I came upon another apparent territorial dispute. This time it was a pair of Song Sparrows near the beach. All puffed up, this bird first waved his right wing at his opponent, then his left wing. This alternating gesture went on for a few minutes.
|The challenger, Song Sparrow in the Kukutali Preserve|
|Oregon Grape on Kiket Island|
|Wild Red-flowering Currant and friend|
When in April with his sweet showers
Have pierced the drought of March to the root,
And bathed each sprout through every vein with liquid
By which power the flower is created.
When the West Wind blows with his sweet breath
Through every field and forest enlivened
The tender new leaves, and the young sun
Has run through half his course in Aries.
And little birds are making melody,
those that sleep all night with open eyes
(so nature incites them in their hearts),
then people long to go on pilgrimages.
-Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales c. 1387-1400