Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Phenology: August 1, 2011

Posted by Kirk
Let's do this. The sun rose this morning at 5:58 AM, we're still safely in the pre-kirk's-alarm-clock-zone but that will come to an end on August 20th. Let's do a fun comparison to what we have in store six months from now in February. Hopefully this will make everyone appreciate the sunshine more.

     August 1: 5:58 AM
     February 1: 7:33 AM

     August 1: 8:40 PM
     February 1: 5:20 PM

Today we got 14 hours, 41 minutes and 46 seconds of daylight, on February 1st we will get only 9 hours 47minutes and 33 seconds. That's a difference of around 5 hours. Use those 5 hours well.

Last week's recap (as best I can remember.)

I took my advanced digital nature photography camp put and we noticed little American toads everywhere. The are very small and copious. In fact, the whole week turned out to be very froggy.

I've been keeping a close eye on the bog the last few weeks. We've very fortunate to have this gem right out the back door at work.  The plants of our bog are more typical of a northern Minnesota bog and it is found at the nature center due to an odd quirk of glacial geology in the St. Croix Valley. On Tuesday I noted that the Cottongrass has "bloomed" or more appropriately, gone to seed.

I headed down to the bog again in the morning with the kids and saw Eastern Kingbirds either catching food for their young or teaching them how to do it for themselves. Probably both. It was fun to watch either way. The young kingbirds have fledged from the nest and are fully capable of flight even though they are still getting meals from both mom and dad. I have some photos I'll try to post up this week.

The phenology event of note was that a camper in another class found a late instar Polyphemus moth caterpillar. It was injured but fascinating none the less.

Friday I took the kids for a spin on our solar powered pontoon boat and I couldn't help but notice all the dragonflies mating above the water. Especially in certain parts of the lake (which I think correspond to deeper water) the Halloween Pennant dragonflies were mating in great numbers.

Saturday was a nice day though I curse the National Weather Service for their bogus Severe Thunderstorm Warning right at bed time. They threatened damaging winds and large hail. The city of St. Paul even turned on all the storm sirens. It was both impressive and creepy outside as I moved the cars into the garage while thunder boomed and multiple sirens wailed. Our son had just fallen to sleep and we had to carry him down to the basement. There never was much of any storm in St. Paul. Maybe some normal rain showers almost an hour after the sirens went off. It was a poor call that ruined my night.

The week ahead:
Keep your eyes open for early fall migrants heading south. Especially some shorebirds will increase in numbers around the Twin Cites as they start to move back south.