A few years ago, a very intense work project took over my life. The days and nights were a blur of computer screens, meetings, and takeout. Spring in New York is a special time but that year I missed it entirely.
Afterwards I vowed that I. Must. Notice. Spring.
If you are feeling nature deprived or need a mood boost, go outside for 30 minutes and seek these first signs of spring.
Notice the New Colors
After a long winter, we don’t even really notice how bare and drab our surroundings look until we see the first pops of color. Notice the yellow forsythia, witch hazel, and daffodils suddenly punctuating your daily view.
The Return of Birds (and Birders)
New York City is a prime location on the bird migratory path, the Atlantic Flyway. Starting mid-March, songbirds begin to arrive. If you are a beginner birdwatcher, this is the perfect time to start noting what you see.
Take a walk at dusk along Central Park’s Sheep Meadow or Prospect Park’s Long Meadow to listen to the robins’ evening song. Now is the perfect time to soak up the sights and sounds of early spring.
Be like the newly-arrived robins.
“With a start, a bounce, a stab
Overtake the instant and drag out some writhing thing.”
— Ted Hughes, “Thrushes”
Take an Expedition to Hear Spring Peepers
The spring peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) is a tree frog about an inch long, known for its enormous voice. These tiny frogs make their way to woodland vernal pools in early spring to call out for mates.
Just listen to the amphibian cacophony:
You can hear these little guys in NYC!
I usually visit Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn in March to hear the spring peeper chorus. Other places to hear peepers in the five boroughs include: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and Alley Pond Park in Queens, and Clove Lakes Park in Staten Island.
I’d love to hear if you also look for these signs of spring. What are your favorite reminders to notice the season? Let me know in the comments below.