Spring in the Arb

Anemone acutilobaSpring in the Arb is a joyous season.  Anywhere you look, you’ll find hardy species shrugging off the last vestiges of winter, as well as seasonal species recently returned from a winter spent in a warmer clime. 

Before the trees have fully leafed out, take advantage of the improved visibility to spot birds.  The Arb is a breeding destination for many species, and serves as a temporary way point for a large number of additional migratory species.  Look for migrating waterfowl on Lyman Lakes and the Cannon River in late March and April. Spring warblers are abundant in May along the river trail, in the floodplain forest, in Best Woods and near Spring Creek in the Upper Arb.

Early spring wildflowers, known as spring ephemerals, carpet the ground with white in forested areas of the Lower and Upper Arb from April to early May. Good places to see spring ephemerals are Stork Forest in the Upper Arb, Best Woods in the Lower Arb, and the entrance to the Upper Arb near the tennis courts. As May arrives you can still see many of the earliest spring wildflowers but these soon fade. Luckily, they are quickly replaced by new blooming species. Later in the month more wildflowers begin to bloom in open areas such as the prairie restorations.

Spring in the Arb also boasts a boisterous chorus of frogs and toads.  Seven species can be heard calling from aquatic habitats after dusk.