Vernal Witch-Hazel and Red-Winged Blackbirds

It’s the end of February and it has been a very spring-like weekend.  We know that more snow is on the way, but signs of spring are popping up.


Hamamelis vernalis, vernal witch-hazel.  I have had this shrub for a few years and this is the best flower show I have ever had.


Here you can see what the flower buds look like before they open.


The vernal witch-hazel is not very striking from a distance, so I almost forget to check on it.  There are still brown leaves on the branches from last fall.  But all the branches are covered by these tiny yellow and red flowers.  It is just so cheery this time of year when you come in for a closer look.  I suppose then it gets bigger the flowers will be more at eye level.


Dan and I watched these two mourning doves going through a mating ritual this morning.  It all started with some neck bobbing….


A little later we headed out to the forest preserve, where we saw and heard red-winged blackbirds everywhere.  They are back from their travels south.


At the Little Red School House forest preserve we stopped to watch the waterfowl.  We thought we were seeing common merganser ducks.


We wandered along on the forest paths, which were quite muddy today.  On this straight stretch we heard woodpeckers and chickadees.  I need to learn more bird calls…


A few times we sat down on the benches and just listened quietly.  Although it looks gray, the sky cleared up and turned beautifully blue.

Just enjoying Illinois!

6 thoughts on “Vernal Witch-Hazel and Red-Winged Blackbirds

  1. So nice to be getting out in this weather lately. You just inspired me to check on my VWH and it’s blooming, too. Didn’t even notice until now because the petals are probably half as long as the ones on yours. I’d replace it if it weren’t growing so well otherwise (and it would be so much work!)

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