I'm glad I made it out to Naugatuck State Forest this afternoon to soak in the spring. Yellow-rumped and Pine Warblers were flitting through the treetops among Red Maple blossoms (way too high up for my camera to reach), and the Pine Warblers' trilling calls rang out all over. And I was just in time to catch some of our early woodland flowers coming into bloom!
Trout Lilies are some of my favorite wildflowers, mostly because of their gorgeous mottled leaves:
Trout Lily flowers are also lovely, of course, and one particularly sunny patch in the woods was already full of these dangling yellow blooms:
Speaking of yellow flowers, the Spicebush plants are just now making clouds of small yellow blossoms, either floating just above eye level:
Or bursting in sprays from the ground:
This (I think) Small White Violet (Viola macloskeyi) looks like a tiny cheerleader, or perhaps a conductor ("come on, spring!"):
American Willow catkins float, backlit, above one of the ponds:
I love that the amphibians and reptiles are now out and about. These two Green Frogs looked so perfectly relaxed on their moss-covered rock next to a stream:
Ah yes, sun-warmed rock and stream-dampened moss. I can't imagine a more comfortable place for a frog:
Seeing these two frogs next to each other made me appreciate the variability in Green Frog markings. (And yes, these are both the same species, as far as I know. The only other green-colored frog we have in Connecticut is the American Bullfrog, which lacks the Green Frog's ridges along the sides of its back.) Where the first frog has a lovely green mask, this second frog looks like it dipped its whole head in some green paint:
Around the ponds' edges, practically every branch in the water was a basking spot for rows of Painted Turtles -- at least, until a person (me) walked by. Here's a stealthy shot of one of the turtle logs, just before the exodus.
The birds were mostly distant or hidden, but this lovely little Chipping Sparrow paused on a shady branch just long enough for a picture:
And the explosion of spring life is just beginning!