This year our native Big Leaf Maple trees look more like Golden Chain Trees. They are absolutely covered in long, gold tassels. The tassels are much more numerous than in a normal year and are much longer as well.
The two 80 degree spells that we have had this April have encouraged the Maples to come into full bloom earlier and with a vengeance. A high tree pollen count is 200 and one weekend here the pollen count was over 1200! I have had allergy symptoms this year like I have never experienced before and I am not the only one.
Another result of this massive maple bloom is our lack of Evening Grosbeaks at our birds feeders. The Evening Grosbeak arrive at this time of year to feed on Maple Blooms. While there is always a good food supply, they normally end up using our feeders quite a lot. But this year, they are mostly staying away from the feeders and feasting in the trees. The air is full of their distinctive "Churr" note and we can see them flying in the distance from one tree to another. But only a few birds have come to the feeders to supplement their diet at this point. I am hopeful that once the maple blooms fade, the Grosbeaks will return to our feeders for a few weeks before moving on to higher elevations.