Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Monday Phenology: March 26, 2012

Posted by Kirk
Sorry this is a day late getting out. No podcast this week. Just the bare bones transcript. You can read along and imagine my voice in your head.

Nature's Week in Review

Monday I spotted my first American Kestrel of the year and the spring peepers were calling for the first time of the year as well. It started to rain in the evening. By morning I measured .33 inches in St. Paul by the fair grounds. I saw they got .9 inches downtown so there were widely variable rainfall totals.

Tuesday I discovered the Groundhogs are out. Unfortunately I only know this because I saw a freshly hit one twitching in death throes on the road. Not pretty. Wild Turkey's are displaying in fields.

Wednesday I saw first of the year Great Blue Heron, Brown-headed Cowbirds, and a Field Sparrow. I also spotted my first Brown Creeper. Elderberry were leafing out and I found one plant that was even starting to flower. There was a tiny trace of rain in the morning (0.02 inches.)

Thursday  morning there was an additional .04 inches of rain in the gauge and by the end of the day it was 0.27 inches. We just had a steady drizzle on and off all day. On the way home I saw my first Pied-billed Grebe of the year.

Friday at lunch I took a stroll down to the pond to listen to the Chorus, Wood Frogs and Spring Peepers and was astounded to hear the first of the year Northern Leopard Frog joining in. On a hike in the afternoon saw Red-tailed Hawk and Bald Eagles on nests. A pair of Sandhill Cranes seem to be staking out a spot to nest. First of the year Garter Snake on in the woods.

Saturday and Sunday continued our trend of beautiful weather. I spent the day prepping the garden (bizarre for March) and playing with my son at local parks. While working in the yard a bald eagle twice flew overhead and circled the neighborhood. I'm wondering if this bird is considering nesting at Lake Como. That would be very exciting. Minnesota Birdnerd saw a number of new bird arrivals on Sunday including Peregrine Falcon, Belted Kingfisher, Turkey Vulture, and Yellow-rumped (myrtle) Warbler.

What to watch for this week:
Early tree species are leafing out such as buckthorn and boxelder. Be careful if you are pulling buckthorn this time of year as young black cherry trees look similar and are also early to leaf out. Watch for painted lady butterflies and the return of tree swallows as well.