Spring has sprung!

Winter is a long time coming in the Adirondack Mountains. The last of our snow finally melts in April, although white stuff can fall in any month of the year. This is a cool place---literally---a wonderful thing at a time when the planet's warming.

Spring is thrilling here. Birds that have been gone for more than half the year return and renew acquaintances with us and the woods in which they raise their young. It's a special treat on a spring day to see a Baltimore oriole, a rose-breasted grosbeak, or a purple finch. Flowers bloom, many of them on display only for a matter of days before they settle down to making fruits, their blossoms not to be seen again for another year. Favorite Adirondack spring flowers include the red and painted trilliums and the goldthread.

Another spring highlight is the return of amphibians. Like zombies in a horror movie, frogs and salamanders stir from their death-like winter state and erupt from the soil and the muck. The first to emerge are wood frogs and tiny thumbnail-sized frogs called spring peepers. Later come leopard frogs, green frogs, American toads, and spotted salamanders. The salamanders are shiny black with big yellow spots. They look like they walked out of a Dr. Seuss book.

With spring come mosquitoes and blackflies, too, but hey, it's not hard to cope, and paradise comes at a price.