Signs out there that spring is com­ing

Maryland Independent - - Sports -

I’ve seen a few signs of spring this past week. The daf­fodils have flow­ers form­ing, the first leaves of the daylilies are start­ing to poke up through the layer of mulch in the flower bed and leaf buds are ap­pear­ing on the tips of the hy­drangea branches.

A few days ago, I no­ticed two cro­cus flow­ers bloom­ing in my neigh­bor’s yard. The next day, two more vi­brant pur­ple flow­ers joined the orig­i­nal duo.

I like to keep a close eye on the birds in our back­yard, and a pair of mourn­ing doves are reg­u­lar visi­tors to the ground be­neath our feeder. Al­most ev­ery time I head out the back door, I hear the fran­tic flut­ter of wings and the “coooo” sound the male makes as the pair flies off into the trees. But lately there’s only been one mourn­ing dove out there dur­ing the day.

These birds usu­ally start nest­ing in our area in March, but I’m hop­ing the weather just in­spired this pair to get started a lit­tle ear­lier and one is on egg duty while the other is eat­ing.

We’ve had the win­dows open the past cou­ple of days and have en­joyed the air at night and the day­time breezes. Even the cherry blossoms in the Tidal Basin are heed­ing na­ture’s call to an early spring and are slated to bloom be­fore the av­er­age peak bloom date of April 4.

But the best sign of all was the news I heard when I stopped by the Tackle Box in Lex­ing­ton Park to re­new my fish­ing li­cense and get a trout stamp: Yel­low perch are show- ing up at Waysons Cor­ner and Al­lens Fresh.

Fe­bru­ary isn’t usu­ally the fa­vorite fish­ing month in South­ern Mary­land. Ev­ery year we have some brave souls that ven­ture out into the cold when the yel­low perch start run­ning. But it’s no hard­ship to go fish­ing this year, as when the sun is shin­ing you don’t even need a jacket to en­joy be­ing out­side.

A new fish­ing sea­son is upon us. If you haven’t yet got­ten your tackle and rods in or­der and pro­cured your fish­ing li­cense, you are go­ing to be caught flat­footed be­cause, as the sign on the side of the Tackle Box says, “Here ‘tis.”

Last week­end I spent a good bit of time with my older kids on the back deck get­ting our rods ready for the next round of spring trout stock­ing for our re­gion’s lakes and ponds.

My old­est daugh­ter got a Swiss army knife for Christ­mas and she car­ries it ev­ery­where with her in her back pocket (when she’s not at school, of course). It has over 30 tools and I reckon she’s used them all a cou­ple of times, whether it was the right tool for the job or not.

Af­ter we cleaned out and or­ga­nized the tackle boxes, she picked out what lure she wanted to use for our first trip out to one of the lo­cal ponds. Most of the time she uses just a sim­ple bob­ber combo, but af­ter go­ing to a few fish­ing shows re­cently, we’ve ac­quired quite an arse­nal of lures.

OUT­DOORS Jamie Drake jamiedrake­out­doors @out­

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