Last time I wrote about early May in the boreal forest, when the trees stayed bare and the forest was full of bird songs and shining sun. But leaves grow fast and the forest is getting shaded soon. First white blossoms appear on birdcherry (Prunus padus) and next day the tree stands white. Thousands of fragrant flowers produce the first aroma in the forest and attract insects. Usually, blooming of birdcherry is a sign of next wave of cold. However, in this year (2018) the cold did not come to our forest in May at all.
Birch and alder trees are green now and only aspens still stay bare. Leaves make shadow in understory and flowers of windflower disappear very fast. Purple flowers of heath violet (Viola canina) replace liverleafs and bright yellow dandelions (Taraxacum) follow coltsfoots. A shrub of red currant is blooming with small light-green bulbs. At the same time flowers of coltsfoot transform into white fluffy balls scattering parachutes with seeds on the wind. Ferns emerge from the ground unrolling their fronds, like legs of an octopus. All green bilberry shrubs are decorated with thousands of small light-pink bulbs of flowers and bumblebees are buzzing everywhere.
Birch shows catkins with leaves together. In few days catkins start producing a large amount of pollen, that fly away and covers all surfaces in the forest, like a thin dust. In the water of the lake, the pollen churns into clots and small fish is pleased to have the first nutritious dinner. Birch pollen is a good food for fish but may cause allergy for a human. Be careful, when walking in the forest, and escape to home if you feel itching nose, sneezing or have itchy, watery eyes.
Lake surface is clean and only first shoots of marsh-marigold (Caltha palustris) are raising from the bottom to sunlight. Very soon they appear from the water and show golden flowers along the shore. Lake is quiet and peaceful these days. The only sandpiper is flying above the water making a high-pitched call. Females are sitting on eggs in nests and you can see only males floating in the water and enjoying the sun. Whooper swans spend time together and male sits somewhere in the grass next to the nest. Sometimes they hide eggs, leave the nest unattended and have a dinner nearby, but then run back in half an hour.
The forest is quiet only during the night. From dawn to dusk it is full of sounds. Birds have already built their nests and now females are sitting on eggs, but males continue singing. Blackbirds, song thrushes, and redwings, chaffinches and chiffchaffs, warblers and tits, robins, wrens and kinglets, all they united in a loud concert of the forest. In evening you can hear the first cuckoo and this means, that warm weather will stay for the rest of summer.
Usually, middle and end of May are warm and sunny in our forest. Some days the temperature may raise over +25C. Dry warm weather is a paradise for wasps. They are flying in search of dry places to build paper nests. Human structures are the great findings for them. Massive buzzing bumblebees work from early morning to late evening, collecting nectar from blooming bilberry. It is not rare when frosts occur during the night and bilberry can lose its buds. However, in this year the weather is surprisingly warm and it promises pretty good yield.
Every glade in the forest has bright green color, because of leaves of lily of the valley. Shortly you may notice first buds arising from the leaves. After few days birdcherry starts losing its white dressing, getting back to the green and aroma of the forest will change soon. But this is another story…