Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Phenology: November 28, 2011

Posted by Kirk
It's been nice knowing you fall. You were a good friend. I think it is time we said goodbye. A wintery sun rose this morning at 7:27 AM and set at 4:34 PM. Now it you're noticing these times are not changing as much now as they did a few months ago that's because we're approaching the solstice and the amount of light we lose each day gets smaller and smaller the closer we come. Today was only 1 minute and 44 seconds shorter than yesterday giving us 9 hours 07 minutes and 08 seconds of sunlight.

Here's your week in review:

Monday, lakes in the area were almost completely frozen over. The shallow ones certainly were and larger ones were getting close. That wouldn't last.

Tuesday, the weather warmed up and the snow from the previous Saturday (you remember the snow right) was melting like mad. In the morning I saw 20 to 30 crows flying over Snelling Ave in St. Paul. I can't be sure but I strongly suspect they were partying all night at the Minneapolis crow roost. They were flying from west to east and had this walk of shame look to them. I saw 7 more crows heading east at the 694/35E commons around 7:30 in the morning. It makes me wonder how far out the Minneapolis roost draws from. I attended Birds and Beers on Tuesday night and we talked about how many interesting birds are already showing up this year. Good numbers of snowy owls are in the twin cities and there are signs of other northern species moving in as well. This could get very interesting.

Wednesday I spent the day packing to leave town and then driving for hours on dark roads.

Thursday was Turkey Day and I spent it down near La Crosse, WI. No wild turkeys showed themselves but I did see plenty of Tufted Titmice which is always a pleasure when in across the border. I also spent a little time outside in the wonderfully warm and unseasonable weather and happened to walk out just as a mature bald eagle flew over my head. Nice. Incidentally, the state animal of Wisconsin is the Badger but, uh, they also have a state wildlife animal which is the White-tailed deer, because, um, I guess the badger isn't, you know, wildlife. What the hell Wisconsin? At least they have their act together and agreed on a state fossil. Minnesota never seems to get around to making that happen.

Friday night/Saturday morning we got the faintest dusting of snow back in Minnesota. Unless you happened to be awake at 2:30 AM Saturday morning you would have no idea it came down. The only reason I know is that the largest of the flakes set off one of our motion activated trail cameras and we found the photos the following Monday. There were also raccoons, beaver, deer and coyotes on the camera. Busy day.

The Week Ahead:

Watch for colder more seasonable weather. Lakes will start to freeze up again Monday night and ice will increase all week. Wednesday we might hit 40° which will slow down the ice but Thursday night we're heading down to 15 which will take a toll. By the end of the week I suspect even some of the deeper more wind exposed lakes will have ice on them. We may see a little more snow as well if things set up right. I think winter is finally going to catch up to us. Friday is the last day with 9 hours of sunlight. Next Saturday will only have 8 hours 59 minutes and 19 seconds.


CheddarMelt said...


To be honest, I'm not sure why the badger is listed as a state animal at all, since a Wisconsin Badger is (was) a person, not a large burrowing weasel.

The badger is a state symbol not because badgers are common in Wisconsin--they aren't--and it isn't because the scientific name (Taxidea taxus) doubles as political commentary, either!

As it happens, galena (lead ore) is abundant in the Driftless Area, more or less where Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa meet. And the early miners tore through the hillside in search of this ore much like a badger making short work of a soft prairie loam.

Kirk said...

Interesting Jennifer, thanks for sharing.