#83 - Spring Has Sprung

Spring has sprung. Snake someone. Or two. That number again is O-U-8-1-2.
— two knuckleheads

Gibberish, really, but thirty-plus years later I still recall the above nonsense. It appeared like yesterday when I strolled Crabtree Nature Center yesterday seeing turtles and bullfrogs gathering warmth and waxwings flittering overhead. It was something me and my old roommate Todd, certainly mostly a result of his goofiness, used to say back in our twenty-something haze of Busch beer and Cuervo Gold tequila. The 'snake' certainly reflects me and the OU812 references Van Halen, which was in heavy rotation during the days of my bed surrounded by python cages and Todd doing backflips after every tequila shot.

Spring definitely has sprung, Chicago style. Two days ago I woke to a dusting of snow, yet yesterday I was sweating in my hoodie as I hiked the suburban Chicago preserve. I was out trying to blast the cobwebs off my photog skills and find some cardio stamina after a long sedentary winter. I did photograph my first reptile of 2018, the suntanning Painted Turtle seen below.

  Painted Turtle ( Chrysemys picta )

Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)

Monday I will be heading southwest. The San Simon Valley and surrounding Peloncillo and Chiricahua Mountains call. My lonely Wheelhouse needs its windows opened to the warm breezes of April. I've booked a month at Rusty's RV Ranch and then am trading volunteer hours at the Cave Creek Canyon Visitor Center in the Chiricahuas for a campsite there. I will be posted at the "V.I.C." from June through September, greeting birders, hikers, campers and sharing my passion for the fauna and flora of the great Sky Island.

Spring has sprung and I am springing. And with the emergence of rattlesnakes from their dens, this blog rejuvenates. All the best, MJ