Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Phenology: May 21, 2012

Posted by Kirk
This is a transcript of the Monday Phenology podcast. If you are reading via email you can click here to listen.  


The sun rose at an amazing 5:37 am. It is almost hard to imagine that back in the dead of winter the sun didn't rise until 7:51 am.  Tonight the sun set at 8:42 PM giving us 15 hours 5 minutes and 17 seconds of sunlight.

Nature's Week in Review:

Monday reached 85 degrees which was the hottest day yet for 2012. Why on earth did I wear jeans? I saw my first Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Indigo Bunting and a great looking first spring male Orchard Oriole.

Tuesday, dragonflies were still emerging in great numbers. Mosquitoes too. While hiking in the woods I found I was swatting them away for the first time this year. It was another beautiful sunny day.

Wednesday the trillium were blooming in the forest which meant they were eaten moments later by giant forest rats a.k.a. White-tailed Deer.

Thursday was a good day for bird banding at the nature center with all kinds of warblers. There were Nashville Warblers, Tennessee Warblers, Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroats and even Northern Parula

Friday morning my co-worker Paul and I took the morning off and went up to Falls Creek SNA for some birding with Paul's wife Leslie. The three of us birded like mad for a few hours, got some good species but not the one I was really hoping for. I wanted to see a Cerulean Warbler which I've never seen but alas we didn't even hear one. They have been spotted there this spring and many other springs as well. The two species that are close to a sure thing there, Acadian Flycatcher and Louisiana Waterthrush, did not disappoint. We spent 45 minutes trying to get a view of a calling male Northern Parula. We could tell exactly what tree it was but the little guy was a master at hiding. I finally saw the bird briefly but it moved before the others could get on it. We had to leave. It wasn't a lifer for anyone but would have been nice if we'd had time for everyone to get a look. On a side note, there was poison ivy in spades and it was at times challenging to watch the tree tops and the ground at the same time. Exercise all due caution at this site.

Saturday I got a lifer Bay-breasted Warbler. It involved a bit of sprinting. My co-worker Paul spotted it in a tree above our bird banding station and I was a tenth of a mile away on the other side of a bog. He told me about it over the walkie talkie and I set of running.  I got there just in time to see it before it flew off. I had to cancel an afternoon canoe program due to high winds. A thunderstorm whipped up by dinner time and we got a downpour of rain. It wasn't long lasting but we got .7 inches of rain. The bulk of that seemed to come in just a few minutes.

Sunday morning things got colder and my Bonsai in the garden were very happy for it. The sweltering heat of the last few days had been taking their toll.

The week ahead:

Dragonflies emerge in waves over the course of the summer. Watch for Chalk-fronted Corporal dragonflies emerging early this week. They have a distinct white shoulders and white upper tail. Their faces or "fronts" are also white but this is often harder to see.