Monday, May 2, 2011

Monday Phenology: May 2, 2011

Posted by Kirk Mona
The sun rose this morning at 6:01 am and will set at 8:19 pm. We're so very close to having sunrise before 6:00 am. There are 14 hours, 18 minutes and 20 seconds of sunlight today. What a week for phenology. This week is all about migration! Let's get right to the sightings.

Last week's reports:

Monday was nice, one of the few bright spots in the week weather wise. We burned our prairie at work. The first Bloodroot bloomed outside the front doors at work. What a relief to finally see some flowers.

Tuesday the cold came down with rain. It was the 226th anniversary of John James Audubon's birthday but I barely saw any birds through the weather. I am Seeing geese on nests everywhere including on top of beaver and muskrat lodges. It reminds me that I once saw a goose nest on top of a muskrat lodge on top of an old beaver lodge. Location, location, location. That was hot real estate.

Wednesday morning it was rainy and there were a few snowflakes mixed in. Gail reported a Red-necked Grebe on Lake Vadnais there were more reports of Red-necked Grebes on Twin Cities lakes later in the week so keep your eyes open.

Thursday Fred reported a Virginal Rail in Loring Park in Downtown Minneapolis. Check out the photos. Jim Ryan reports that first of the year Barn Swallows have returned to Bloomington. Thomas saw a Lark Sparrow at Bunker Hills in Anoka.

Friday, Cherise in St. Cloud reported a Brown Thrasher so they should be in the Twin Cities by now as well. Anyone see one? Madeleine in Medina also reported the first of the year Baltimore Oriole and Black and White Warblers in the twin cities area. I took a hike at Roberts Bird Sanctuary and found a chickadee nest as well as an American Robin nest with one beautiful blue egg in it.

Saturday, I headed down to Nerstrand Big Woods State Park and despite the awful dreary weather the birds were great. I saw Nashville Warblers, Black & White Warblers, Ovenbirds, Ruby-Crowned Kinglets, Eastern Towhee, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Least Flycatchers, and more. It felt like there were hundreds of brown creepers as they were never out of earshot. The wildflowers were just starting to bloom but haven't peaked yet. I'd guess the end of the week will be spectacular down there. Linda reported the first of the year Pine Warblers in the Twin Cities at Lake Vadnais. Also of note at the lake was a flock of Forster's Terns. Closer to the Twin Cities, EcoBirder, Jeff Fisher headed out at MN Valley refuge and saw Nashville Warbler, Black and White Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Blue-gray gnat catcher and a Solitary Sandpiper. A whole handful of first of the years there. Way to go Jeff!

Sunday, the flowers on my Magnolia tree in St. Paul opened up though I thought the 27 mph driving wind might strip them completely away. I caught a brief glimpse of a White-throated sparrow in may yard which is a nice yard list pickup for the year. Don in Eden Prairie reported Eastern Towhees, Nashville Warblers, Northern Waterthrushes, Lincoln Sparrows and Baltimore Orioles in his back yard. Ron banded birds over at Springbrook and of note were Orange-crowned Warblers, a Black and White warbler, three Northern Waterthrush, two Palm Warbler and four Lincoln Sparrows. That's the first report I've seen this season of Palm, Orange-crowned and Black and White in the Twin Cities. Joe visited Loche Park in Fridley and reports many warblers including a Brewster's Warbler and a Chestnut-sided. He also reports first of the year Yellow-throated and Blue-headed Vireos. A first of the year Prothonotary Warbler was spotted by Paul at T.S. Roberts bird sanctuary. Banders at Ritter Farm found many of the species noted by others as well as a Clay-colored Sparrow. Scott reports many great birds at Old Cedar Bridge including the first report of a Blackpoll Warbler I've seen. He also reports the first Yellow Warbler over at Lake Calhoun. Steve saw similar species at Calhoun including Blackburnian Warbler and Northern Parula.


What to expect this week:
Rose-breasted grosbeaks are in southern Minnesota and will migrate into the Twin Cities early this week. Expect a warbler explosion over the week as well. The early scouts are here already and thousands of them are hot on their heels. The first reports of Baltimore Orioles at the very end of the week means they will become widespread this week so get those feeders up. Speaking of feeders? Are your hummingbird feeders up? At least two hummingbirds were seen on Saturday and there are many more just south of the Minnesota/Iowa border so put your feeders up and you should have some by the end of the week.

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