Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Solstice Phenology: June 21, 2011

Posted by Kirk Mona
You may have noticed the tardy nature of this "Monday" phenology report. I spent Friday-Monday birding in North Dakota and I'm still not fully recovered and back into the swing of not birding all day. It was fantastic. Hopefully I'll post more on that later. Today was the summer solstice, our longest day of the year. The sun rose at 5:26 AM on Tuesday and set at 9:03 PM giving us a maximum of 15 hours 37 minutes and 6 seconds of day. This was just 2 seconds more than Sunday. Tomorrow will be 2 seconds shorter than today. Everyone in my birding group in North Dakota was impressed by how much later the sun seemed to set in North Dakota. We were only about 120 miles further north than the Twin Cities but the sun set almost 30 minutes later in the day.

Week in Review:

Monday we hosted a training on bogs at the nature center and people were impressed by the number of blooming pitcher plants. It is really turning out to be a great year for them.

Tuesday I headed up to Taylor's Falls to scout out some locations for a summer geology class I'm teaching. Aside from some first class geology, I ran into a Louisiana Waterthrush, a singing male Baltimore Oriole and a singing male Indigo bunting that didn't yet have all the mature blue feathers. I also found my first Carrion beetle of the year along a trail. Dot-tailed whiteface and Chalk-fronted corporal dragonflies were out in great numbers as were dozens of other dragonflies.

It started to rain after work and kept right on raining all night. While there wasn't a lot of thunder the rumbles we did hear seemed enormous and shook the whole house. The loud thunder was due to the temperature inversion in the atmosphere Tuesday night. Basically the sound bounced off the warm air above the storm and was reflected back down to the ground.

Wednesday we started the day with rain. Adding the morning rain to the overnight precipitation we were well over an inch of rain in most of the Twin Cities area. We needed it. I took a group canoeing in the rain for the first half of the day and saw the young eagles at the nest have moved out to the branches around the nest. Blue flag iris was blooming and both white water lilies and yellow/spadderdock lilies were blooming as well. I noticed one Yellow flag iris blooming on the shore of the lake as well. I've never seen it at the center before. Is an exotic invasive species so we may need to remove that one plant before it spreads.

Thursday I went out on out Solar Powered pontoon boat with a seniors group and we were lucky enough to see a pair of Common Loons with four young loons swimming/riding along with them.

The rest of the week I was in

What to expect this next week.

Get out and enjoy that sunshine if we get it this week. The days get shorter from here on out. Watch for young birds and fawns heading out into the world.

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