Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Phenology: April 18, 2011

Posted by Kirk Mona
I'm not sure it qualifies as phenology but there seems to be a cold going around and I caught it at the beginning of last week. I was feeling almost better this morning at 6:23 AM when the sun arose this morning. It set again at 8:02 PM. There was 13 hours, 38 minutes and 25 seconds of sunlight. For the first time this week we gained less than three minutes of sunlight. We're now only gaining 2 minutes and 58 seconds per day but there's still two hours left to gain by the solstice.

Here's the weekly phonology roundup.

Monday I was sick in bed all day. This seemed fitting as it was also the first 70° F day of the year. I missed the whole thing. Pat reported Red-breasted Mergansers, Ruddy Ducks and Field Sparrows down in Wabasha. Lynda spotted a Winter Wren at Dodge Nature Center.

Tuesday I headed back into work and saw the first of the year Brown-headed Cowbird at work. I'm glad I paused to check out the cowbird as seconds later a Barred Owl flew right over my head chased by a pair of crows. A few larger lakes iced-out this day and I saw my first Ring-necked Duck in area ponds.

Wednesday, all remaining lakes iced out by the beginning of the day. I saw my first Green and Blue Winged Teal in a newly opened lake. On a hike to check on the lakes at the nature center my co-worker Paul and I spotted the first Myrtle Warblers of the year. I also got a very interesting report from Everett that he saw a flock of 200 Common Loons flying over his house in Marine on St. Croix! Wow!

Thursday, the Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers returned to nature center and I also spotted a beautiful male Northern Shoveler and a first of the year Great Egret.

Friday it got much colder in anticipation of snow coming. I noticed the red maple flowers were falling from the trees in the wind. The White Oaks still have last year's leaves.

Saturday morning I woke up in La Crosse, Wisconsin visiting family. The inch or so of snow on the ground was not really welcome at this point in the spring. It was all gone by Sunday and the Red-bellied Woodpeckers I watched continued building their cavity nests as though nothing had happened. On the way back to the Twin Cities the Mississippi river was surprisingly quiet. I spotted three White Pelicans along the entire length.

This Week:
The word of the week is snow. I can't believe I just typed that sentence. We have more snow on the way. Models vary but there could be somewhere around 4 new inches of snow on the ground this week. Numbers of birds will increase over the week and some of the earliest wild flowers will be in bloom by the end of the week. I still haven't seen any Louisiana Waterthrush around but I expect some are already here. Keep your eyes open. They tend to show up around the same time as the Myrtle Warblers. The Lyrid meteor shower peaks on Friday night but isn't expected to be a bright show. If you want to try to see them the best time to look is after midnight.

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