Everyone has their own sign

When you live in the northern reaches of the US, the “first sign of spring” is usually considered the American robin, or perhaps certain flowers – not daffodils, since they often came up just to get dumped on by snow. Here at the mid latitudes, we can see robins throughout January, and a few flower species can appear in February. So for my own sake, there’s one appearance that I treat as the harbinger of warm weather and the beginning of the good photography season:

Cope's grey treefrog Hyla chrysoscelis making its first appearance this season
The common grey treefrog and the Cope’s grey treefrog are identical, but I’m going to consider this a Cope’s (Hyla chrysoscelis) because they do have distinguishable calls, and that’s the only call I’ve ever heard in this area. Since it was daylight this one wasn’t making a sound, and was basking in the bright sun, firing up its system after the winter temperatures. Its perch is a piece of ornamental cedar treestump that we currently have sitting on the deck before it gets placed someplace else as an accent, so the frog couldn’t have been much more convenient to photograph (realistically, anyway – I suppose sitting on my desk next to the keyboard would be better.) I’d last spotted the grey treefrogs back in October, so this is my cue to keep an eye out now.

Several local plants are budding out now, including The Girlfriend’s cherry tree and my almond tree, but this next one is a potted flower, a hyacinth belonging to The Girlfriend’s Younger Sprog. In the warm weather, a jumping spider was casting web lines into the breeze to try and snag another perch, and when I interrupted this by passing my hand through the wafting strand, he (yes it’s a male) began reeling in the web, quite possibly to recycle the material by eating it, thus conserving his limited resources until more meals presented themselves.

jumping spider Salticidae pulling in drifting web strands
There’s also a red-shouldered hawk with a new nest in plain sight out the back door, presently trying to get a female to approve of his handiwork… beakiwork… whatever. We’ll have to see if this produces more interesting scenes in the near future.

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