Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Phenology: September 19, 2011

Posted by Kirk Mona
I took a little vacation from phenology but things are back on track. What did we miss?

Back in the last week in August, there were lots of cicadas around with their constant drone. I could even seen them slowing flying from tree to tree. I watched a flycatcher chase one though the neighbors yard

Tuesday, August 30th, I went to wake my son up and heard him say, "It can't be morning yet, the sun isn't up." This has become a familiar refrain now. Even a three and a half year old knows something has changed.

Thursday, September 1st, a Common Nighthawk was hunting in neighborhood. They are migrating south and I'm seeing reports of them around the metro.

Friday, September 2nd my co-worker Paul discovered a Mourning Dove nest with eggs in it.  Seems pretty late so I'm assuming this is not the first brood.

Friday, September 9th there were reports of smoke all around the Twin Cities and a strange smell in the air. The source turned out to be a fire all the way up in Canada.

Here's last week's phenology round-up:

Monday -Where did all the monarch's go? While thy can still be found, it seems there are very few around. Last week the fields were thick with them, now they are scarce. I saw a kettle of six turkey vultures migrating on my way home.  There are hints of color out there in the trees but I'm struck by how much it seems everything is on pause. I began to see color four weeks ago but it seems little has changed.

Tuesday it finally felt like fall. Monday's high temps blew away (as did a portion of my fence) with the strong wind out of the north. By Tuesday morning, it was cool in Minnesota and we hay have seen our last hurrah of summer. In the northern part of the state, they were flirting with frost. Highlight of the day, managed to spot a pair of migrating Northern Parula at work. The spring seemed good for Parula as well which is interesting.

Wednesday: The pause has been lifted. Colors are coming on faster now. Today I noticed increased color in Elms and Basswood. The woods are very quiet, it seems like there are almost no birds at all.

Thursday I awoke to discover the first frost of the year. The roof of both my garage and house were covered in a blanket of white frost. Since I had parked outside. I had to really blast the heat to get the layer of frost off the windows of my car. This was about two weeks earlier than the median for central Minnesota.

Friday morning the drive to work seemed very birdy. I saw a large flock of wild turkeys, a bald eagle was feasting on road kill along the side of the road and a rural power line was covered in so may starlings I couldn't hope to count them. At lunchtime I drove the same road and saw two turkey vultures eating the same road kill as the eagle. I was able to slow down and watch the birds from only about 10 feet away. A lone harrier was migrating south as well.

Saturday and Sunday were quiet but Saturday night we did finally manage to get some precipitation which was much appreciated. 

The week ahead:

Look for warming weather in the second half of the week and watch for birds that continue to migrate. Canada geese will stage in increasing numbers throughout the week. Fall color in the Twin Cities will increase but probably stay below 10%.

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