Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Phenology: July 25, 2011

Posted by Kirk
Let's get to it. The sun rose at 5:50 AM, a time which is creeping ever closer to the time my alarm goes off. It will set tonight at  8:48 PM giving us 14 hours 57 minutes and 40 seconds of daylight. As of this past weekend we've slipped below 15 hours of daylight. We'll lose a hair over two minutes of daylight each day this week. Have I not been warning you to enjoy summer while you can? I spent yesterday at the beach soaking up the sun. All are advised to do the same while you can. 

Week in Review:

Monday with everyone focusing on the heat you would be forgiven for not noticing that we broke a record low temperature reading. The low temperature at the airport was 80° F. The previous high low temp was 79° back in 1986. The highest heat index I recorded was 112.3 which was a far cry from the 118 predicted. Then again, it is always cooler in the woods. Even just traveling to White Bear Lake after work I was stunned how much hotter it felt when I stepped out of the car. Here's to working in the woods.

Tuesday was another hot one. The highest heat index I recorded out in the woods was 107. This shows the cooling effect of the woods and the urban heat island effect of the urban areas of the twin cities. It got up to a record breaking 119° heat index at the MSP airport and there was a report of a state record 125° heat index in St. Peter, MN. I'm actually quite enjoying the heat and humidity. Toward the end of the work day, after the kids had gone home, Paul noted on our weather station that we briefly hit an 82° dew point which would be a new state record. It wasn't all about the heat though. Out in the prairie the yellow coneflower is nicely blooming the wild bergamot seems to be blooming as well.

Wednesday was the hottest day of the week technically with actual temperatures up to 100°. The humidity wasn't quite as high though so it didn't feel as hot. By "not as not" I mean the heat index only reached 103.3 out here in the woods. It was far worse in the cities.

Thursday there was an amazing cool down. Even with the heat index, I only saw a top temperature of 81.4°. It felt glorious. Dragonflies currently out and about include Calico and Halloween Pennants, Widow Skimmers, and Dot-tailed Whiteface. I'll try to post some photos this week.

Friday I was pleased to see a Scarlet Tanager hanging out just outside the window to my classroom. I was teaching a photography camp and all my kids grabbed for their cameras. I had mine in hand but the bird was gone by the time I got to the window. This bird seems to come to the water feature out the window almost daily. If only I could catch it in the act.

Saturday was an extremely lazy day thanks to rain. I had plans to mow in the morning but I could hear thunder in the early hours so I slept in. Later in the day the yard was still wet so I took a nap. It was a glorious lazy day much deserved after all the teaching I did in the heat this week. No phenology to report other than a lazy napping naturalist.

Sunday I put my son to bed at 8:30 and then headed out to mow the lawn as the sun sank down in the sky. I finished by 9:30 and I was more mowing by memory and light from the windows more than by any remaining daylight. As I put the mower away I could see only a faint glow on the horizon. Summer is slowly slipping away.

What to watch for this week:
Keep your eyes open for more dragonflies this week. There are some species that should be out and about now like the meadowhawks that are quite pretty.